SASEBO, Japan - Sailors and Marines from Carrier Strike Group Seven (CSG-7) participated in community service projects (COMSERV) during a port call to Sasebo, Japan April 19-22 after participating in Operation Tomodachi relief efforts.
Strike group Sailors and Marines donated their time to clean up six different locations throughout Sasebo including parks, roads and playgrounds.
“U.S. Naval Forces have historically been very active in conducting COMSERV projects around the world,” said Cmdr. John Denton, Ronald Reagan’s command chaplain and COMSERV lead coordinator. “We’re trying to promote the balance between security and liberty around the world as well as help the quality of life for all people.”
“The best part of these projects is knowing that we have so many shipmates willing to take the opportunity to be selfless with their time for a moment,” said Intelligence Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Matthew Rice, president of Ronald Reagan’s First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA) and coordinator of one of the projects.
Three Ronald Reagan organizations, the FCPOA, 3 & 2 Petty Officer’s Association, Blue Jacket’s Association, along with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 took charge of the community service projects.
“I think we all feel pretty great about the work we did. I’m very proud of the FCPOA for how they represented our command,” said Rice.
The COMSERV coordinators had no trouble finding volunteers willing to contribute a few hours of their time off, Sailors and Marines are always willing to lend a helping hand.
“I enjoy helping people, so it was only natural to join up with a community service project,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class (AW) Oscar Black, who participated in one of the parks. “It wasn’t work—it was more of an activity. I had a great time.”
Interacting with Japanese citizens also proved to be a highlight for many participants. “It was great to be talking with some of the local residents after we cleaned up,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Corey Gadson, “They brought us to a small, open-air market and really immersed us into their culture, which was very cool to experience.” While the meet-and-greet portion was a lot of fun for Gadson, the net effect was what truly mattered.
“It made me feel good to make a difference in their community, ” said Gadson. “I’d love to do it again and will try to sign up for another project in our next port.” Denton was pleased, though not surprised, by the outpouring of goodwill from his fellow Sailors and Marines.
“We showed up to do our part as we always do,” said Denton. “I hope every Sailor and Marine finds a sense of fulfillment in helping provide assistance to those who are in need and those who wish to build friendships.”
After providing three weeks of direct support to Japanese relief efforts in Operation Tomodachi, Denton said the participants should take pride in going that extra mile for their ally and friend.
“When Sailors and Marines choose to roll up their sleeves to help serve our fellow men and women, their lives are affected by the knowledge that they did something very significant&ellips;they gave their time and energy to care for other people.”
Carrier Strike Goup Seven is operating in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility as part of a scheduled deployment.
Carrier Strike Group Seven, commanded by Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, is comprised of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, which includes USS Preble (DDG 88).
Embarked Carrier Air Wing CVW 14 include “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, “Argonauts” of VFA-147, the “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146, the “Death Rattlers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, the “Black Eagles” of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the “Cougars” of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the “Providers” of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.