DARWIN, Northern Territory, Australia --
Dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, departed Darwin, Australia July 8, for scheduled operations in the Asia Pacific region.
During the port visit, Germantown and the 31st MEU completed a bio-security inspection of Marine gear, enjoyed some much deserved down time, and participated in a community service outreach program.
More than 30 Marines and Sailors visited members of the Life Without Barriers aid organization at Lake Alexander Park, here , July 6.
While every Sailor and Marine enjoys some down time during port visits, it is not uncommon for some service members to devote a portion of their free time to the local community. The crew of the Germantown and the Marines of the 31st MEU were eager to interact with Life Without Barriers members.
“A lot of us jumped at the opportunity to help out less-fortunate people; because, frankly, helping people is our purpose .” said Lance Cpl. Jason L. Pawlowski, a cyber network operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st MEU, and native of Jenks, Okla.
Members of the Life Without Barriers organization consist of the physically or mentally disabled, refugees, and foster children. More than 20 of these men, women and children joined the Marines and Sailors for a lakeside picnic and games.
Many of the Life Without Barriers’ members seldom get to enjoy outdoor activities, and were very appreciative to spend time with the Sailors and Marines .
“Having American service members spend a day with them is a great exposure,” said Deanna M. Romain, operations manager for Life Without Barriers, and native of Perth, Australia. “To be able to mix with others is therapeutic and breaks the daily monotony. Having the Marines and Sailors here is a blessing.”
During the picnic, the participants played musical instruments, danced, played board games, made bead necklaces, and tossed a ball around. The interaction between people from different areas of the world proved to be a positive experience for everyone involved.
“The purpose wasn’t to get us away from the office, but to get a chance to positively impact the lives of others,” said Navy Lt. Robert R. Hecox, command chaplain assigned to USS Germantown and native of Sebring, Fla. “It boosts the morale of both us and the Australians; everyone is having a great time.”
Germantown is on patrol with the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and, with the 31st MEU, is currently conducting routine joint-force operations in the Asia Pacific region.