Line handlers assigned to Naval Station San Diego wait to release the mooring lines of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), as it prepares to depart for a scheduled deployment. Somerset is a part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, which will serve in the U.S. 3rd, 5th, and 7th Fleet area of operation, providing maritime security operations, crisis response capability, theater security cooperation and forward naval presence. (Photo by U.S. Navy Photo by Seaman Kelsey Hockenberger)
CHANGI, Singapore (NNS) -- Amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD 25) arrived in Singapore for a scheduled port visit, Nov. 13.
The port visit will allow Sailors from Somerset and Marines from the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to experience the local culture and conduct professional military exchanges with members of the Republic of Singapore navy. Somerset departed Naval Station San Diego for its maiden deployment Oct. 14, and this will be the first overseas port visit in the ship's history.
Somerset's Commanding Officer, Capt. Darren Glaser, said port visits and liberty give the crew and embarked Marines a valuable opportunity to gain appreciation for Singapore's culture.
"The Somerset team is honored to visit Singapore," said Glaser. "Both personally and professionally, it provides opportunities to strengthen ties, while allowing the crew to gain an understanding and appreciation of the local culture."
During the port visit, Sailors and Marines plan to interact with the local community through service projects coordinated by Somerset's staff.
"Community service projects are a longstanding part of Navy and Marine Corps service, and many military members greatly anticipate the opportunity to serve in this capacity," Lt. Timothy Miller, a Navy chaplain assigned to Somerset said. "The honor, courage, and commitment of our men and women in uniform motivates them to contribute to the world. We are proud of our service, and honored to have the opportunity to do this during our time in Singapore."
For many Sailors and Marines aboard Somerset, this will be their first opportunity to experience a foreign port. Seaman Zared Norton from Canton, Texas, is looking forward to the sights and sounds of Singapore.
"It's my first time ever being out of the country, and I'm excited to see a different culture," said Norton.
Somerset, part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The 7th Fleet area of operations includes more than 48 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean, running from the international dateline to the eastern coast of Africa, and from the Antarctic to the Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan.
While in 7th Fleet, the Makin Island ARG and 11th MEU will be assigned to Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.