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SINGAPORE - The USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) departed Singapore after a four-day, goodwill port visit, June 30.
GWCSG Sailors enjoyed well-deserved liberty, took advantage of various local tours hosted by the ships' Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), and participated in 11 community relations (COMREL) projects and other events organized by the ship's command religious ministries department to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Singapore.
"It was great to get out and meet Singaporean nationals," said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Dijan Thomas, a COMREL participant from Dallas, Texas. "It's important to take some time out of our port visits to reach out to the community, make a difference and build upon our relationship with our host nation."
George Washington also hosted ship tours for approximately 250 students, Republic of Singapore (ROS) military members and local officials and held a diplomatic reception aboard the ship for more than 350 Singaporian dignitaries. The Honorable Kirk Wagar, U.S. ambassador to Singapore, and Rear Adm. Timothy Lo, fleet commander, ROS navy, were two among many honored guests.
"These receptions during port visits are important theater security cooperation opportunities," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. "GWCSG is a visual indication of the United States' strategic rebalance in the pacific and shows our commitment to peace, prosperity, security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. We represent a guarantee of transparency, adherence to rule of law and freedom of the maritime province around this region."
George Washington Sailors also had the opportunity to interact with local citizens through multiple sporting events.
"These games were not necessarily a competition, rather a way to have fun, build relations and get to know our friends in Singapore," said Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class Takeo Wadriski, captain of the George Washington soccer team. "It's a cool experience to face off with international teams and to meet and mesh with some of the locals here."
Sailors gained a better understanding about the Lion City's culture through a series of tours offered by MWR.
"I really enjoyed this visit to Singapore," said Logistics Specialist Seaman Vincent Snyder, from Fayateville, North Carolina. "I was able to go on the night safari, try many different types of food and I made it a goal to see as many sights as I could during our stay."
GWCSG includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington and its embarked airwing, Carrier Airwing 5, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Shiloh (CG 67), and the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and USS Kidd (DDG 100).