Panama: Sailors from USS Underwood Engage in Community Project

Sailors from the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) participated in a community engagement project, July 6.

Twenty-two Sailors went to the Estado de Minesota School to paint classrooms and entertain the students.

“I really think that it is important to help others that might be less fortunate than others in this world,” said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Philip Coburn. “I believe that the best way to foster good relations with other countries is to participate in events like these.”

Sailors divided into groups and painted five classrooms.

“I was pleased to help these kids out and it made me proud that they were so enthusiastic about helping us,” said Seaman Apprentice Christopher Jordan. “I get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction every time I get an opportunity to do an engagement like this.”

Cmdr. Peter T. Mirisola, Underwood commanding officer, presented a plaque to the assistant director of the school, Raul Espino, to commemorate Underwood’s visit. Mirisola also distributed stuffed animals from Project Handclasp to students from the school.

“I was very thankful for what the Sailors and their captain did for the school today and will appreciate it for a long time,” said Espino. “It is people like them that make the world a better place.”

After the Sailors completed the painting project, they joined the students for a soccer game.

“I was touched by the bright-eyed looks in the children’s eyes the whole day,” said Jordan. “I encourage people to volunteer for things like this because it is an experience I will never forget.”

Underwood is deployed to Central and South America and the Caribbean in support of Southern Seas 2012.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

Naval Today Staff, July 10, 2012