SURABAYA, Indonesia (May 12, 2011) USS Guardian (MCM 5) Sailors pose for a photo with a group of students from Sma Ipem High School in Surabaya, Indonesia. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Justin Van Es)

SURABAYA, Indonesia — USS Guardian (MCM 5) participated in several community service projects during a port visit to Surabaya, Indonesia May 12.

During one of the projects, Guardian hosted midshipmen from the Indonesian Naval Academy for a tour of the ship. Ensign Daniel Rocha led the tour and explained various shipboard equipment and its uses.

“I enjoyed working with the Indonesian midshipmen. They were eager to learn, and they showed a lot of enthusiasm. They made this a really easy tour to give,” Rocha said.

The day’s events also included school visits to Sma Ipem High School and Unair University by 15 Guardian Sailors.

“It was a great experience. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to go to an event like this. The students were really interested to practice their English skills with us and to teach us some Indonesian phrases”, said Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Irineo Purificacion. “The university students were thoughtful and had a lot of questions about the Navy and our mission. Our interaction gave them a positive impression of the work we do.”

While some crew members were visiting the local schools, several of Guardian’s junior officers toured the Indonesian Navy vessel TNI Pulau Rengat (MHSC 711).

“The Indonesian sailors were very friendly and welcoming, just as they have been throughout the patrol. The ship was similar to Guardian in many ways, and having a new basis of comparison is great for my development. Their willingness to share some of the basic characteristics of their platform and its mine warfare capabilities increased my professional knowledge,” said Ensign Dong Hopkins.

After visiting Pulau Rengat, the junior officers took a tour of the Indonesian Naval Academy to learn about the Indonesian Navy’s training methods and different core areas of study offered by the academy.

“The visit to the Indonesian Naval Academy was very interesting,” said Ensign Theo Speedy. “The cadets are intelligent and motivated. The facilities that we visited were more impressive than I expected and are actually quite similar to ours.”

While in Surabaya, USS Guardian is working extensively with the Indonesian Navy and strengthening relations between the two navies.