first_imgBack to overview,Home naval-today Sailors, Marines Aboard USS Bataan Volonteer for COMREL View post tag: Aboard View post tag: sailors View post tag: USS Sailors and Marines aboard multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) volunteered for community relations (COMREL) projects while in Rota, Spain, Jan. 17.Sailors and embarked Marines participated in two separate COMRELs during the ship’s visit. Volunteers chose to give up some of their liberty to visit a local home for the elderly, while another group played a soccer game against a local Spanish team. A total of 17 Sailors and Marines of all ranks attended the events, which help to forge stronger bonds with the local community.“COMREL events give our Sailors and Marines a chance to interact with people from another country,” said Cmdr. Russell Graef, a Navy chaplain, Religious Ministries department head and coordinator of the COMRELS. “This helps to create good will between the U.S. and the international community. It builds bridges of understanding between people who would otherwise never get a chance to meet.”At the first COMREL, Sailors played guitar and sang for the residents at one home run by a Spanish convent.“That put a smile on their faces,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Randy Howe, a participant in the music COMREL. “We let them know that people really care. It makes me proud seeing my fellow sailors give up a little of their liberty to help others.”Residents at the retirement home thanked the volunteers with a standing ovation.A second group of 13 volunteers also played a soccer game against a local Divisional Two team from Rota. Although the American team lost to the more experienced Spanish team, Sailors agreed the game was still an excellent way to let off steam from a long deployment, and to have some fun.“We had a chance to meet and play against some really great soccer players,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handler) Morden Joyles, who participated in the game. “We usually don’t get a chance to practice onboard ship, so this was an excellent outlet.”Both of the COMRELs were considered a success by those who gave their time.“We do COMREL projects because it gives all interested personnel a great opportunity to interact with civilians and military members from foreign countries in a venue that may not otherwise be available,” said Graef. “There are many people on Bataan who want to give of themselves. They want to do things for others.”Bataan is the command ship of the Bataan Amphibious Ready group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.[mappress]Naval Today Staff , January 24, 2012; Image: navy View post tag: News by topic View post tag: COMREL View post tag: Marines Sailors, Marines Aboard USS Bataan Volonteer for COMRELcenter_img Training & Education View post tag: Bataan View post tag: Navy View post tag: Volonteer Share this article View post tag: Naval January 24, 2012last_img