By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paolo Bayas
SASEBO, Japan – Thirty-six Sailors from the George Washington Carrier Strike Group participated in a community relations (COMREL) project at Kainan-so Nursing Home, Aug. 2.
Sailors from the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), Ticonderoga-Class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) and Arleigh Burke-Class guided missile cruiser USS Stethem (DDG 63) were invited to visit more than 50 senior citizens to showcase life in the Navy during their scheduled port visit in Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan.
“Today’s COMREL really gave us an opportunity to really connect with the older generation,” said Lt. Allan Bushnell, staff chaplin, destroyer squadron 15. “Especially here in Sasebo, a place we consider a home here in Japan. It was really fun that we were able to do something in an area that has meant so much to the U.S. Navy.”
According to Kazushi Ideguchi, care manager and advisor at Kainan-so, the COMREL marked the very first time Sailors were able to interact with their residents.
“I am very happy that Navy Sailors are here to interact with us more closely,” said Ideguchi. “Usually, Sailors come and help us with the grounds keeping. However, the interaction between Sailors and our residents provided us with a new experience and we hope that we can continue to provide similar opportunities in the future.”
During the visit, Sailors sang songs to the group of citizens and received a song in return.
“There was definitely a language barrier,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Harmony Blevins, from Washington D.C. “Other than actually understanding words said, it was apparent that everyone enjoyed the time we spent together. It felt good to do something meaningful.”