SOUTH CHINA SEA (October 4, 2019) The Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) sails while underway. Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters)
YOKOSUKA, Japan – The Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), received the Navy’s Project Good Neighbor award in the large (more than 500 Sailors) overseas command category.
Project Good Neighbor recognizes the Navy’s best year-round volunteer supported program, promoting outreach activities throughout the year to establish and restore hope to the community. Each year the Navy awards small, medium and large shore, sea, and overseas commands for volunteering and contributing to improving the quality of life within their communities.
Cmdr. Jennifer Bowden, Ronald Reagan’s command chaplain, said, “This award is the culmination of thousands of volunteer hours that our Sailors have given. In every foreign port, in addition to our homeport in Japan, our Sailors use their personal time to work with local communities and citizens. This demonstrates that while we enjoy visiting the communities in these foreign ports, it is also nice to build relationships and, in a way, say ‘thank you’ for the hospitality that we’re given while simultaneously giving back to these communities.”
Over 1,500 Ronald Reagan Sailors contributed 8,455 hours of community service from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 to an estimated 20,500 people in Japan, Guam, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore.
Some of the community relations (COMREL) projects Sailors participated in included volunteering at an orphanage in the Philippines, visiting with the retired community in Hong Kong and visiting at a home for disabled individuals in the Republic of Korea.
Of the 164 days Ronald Reagan spent underway from May to November in 2019, Sailors had approximately 12 total days off in foreign port visits.
Reagan Sailors have limited time off at sea (roughly 7% during underway periods in 2019), so their willingness to use personal time to devote themselves to others contributed to Ronald Reagan winning this year’s award.
One of the ways Ronald Reagan Sailors contribute to their homeport of Yokosuka, Japan is by participating in clean-up events held in the nearby vicinity of Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY), both on and off base.
More than 130 Sailors volunteered to pick up trash in the city of Yokosuka, Japan on Nov. 21, 2019.
Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Samuel Bezdichek, from Redwing, Minnesota, supervised the event. “Our maintenance period is very busy, but it’s also important to show our host nation that outside of our primary duties, we do respect that they allow us into their community, and we’re going to help clean it up and keep it clean.”
As the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, Ronald Reagan’s Community Service Program plays a critical role in nurturing our relationship with our allies and providing opportunities for Sailors to be ambassadors for the United States.
Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo Pacific region.