TOWNSVILLE, Australia – Sailors
from guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) donated some of
their valuable time to the Australian Red Cross during a recent port
visit to Townsville, Australia.
Stethem was in Townsville from July 20-24.
About 22 Stethem Sailors, also know as “Steelworkers,” volunteered for
the community relations project at the Australian Red Cross
Accommodation House. The house provides patients and their families
from outlying areas with a place to call home while receiving medical
Stethem Sailors did general cleaning around the grounds, preparing the
property as spring approaches in Australia
“This was my first volunteer project since I’ve reported aboard
Stethem and I really enjoyed myself. It feels good to give up some of
my time to a good cause like the Australian Red Cross,” said
Electrician’s Mate Fireman Apprentice Sarah Swayka.
The Steelworkers were later invited inside for a surprise meal of
kangaroo meat and other Australian dishes provided by the
accommodation house volunteer staff. After the meal, the project
leader, Chief Electrician’s Mate Severo Elecanal presented the
accommodation house director with a framed Stethem picture signed by
the commanding officer, Cmdr. Paul J. Lyons.
Stethem is named in honor of Petty Officer Robert Stethem, who was
killed by terrorists when they hijacked TWA Flight 847 in 1985.
Stethem was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for the heroism he
displayed that day. Stethem is part of the Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike
Group and is deployed from Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, operating
in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, the U.S. 7th Fleet
is the largest of the overseas U.S. fleets, with about 50 ships, 120
aircraft and 20,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.
For more information, visit the U.S. 7th Fleet Web site at