USS Jason Dunham Departs Manama, Bahrain

Guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) departed Manama, Bahrain, after a port visit, Oct. 18.

While in port, Sailors were able to enjoy the local culture and attractions while also taking advantage of the services offered by Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain.

Sailors participated in tours sponsored by Jason Dunham’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program, which provided such opportunities as attending a water park and a spa.

“I wanted to go somewhere where I could just relax and get some relief from the heat,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Archie Folks, who enjoyed a trip to a Bahrain water park. “I had a blast just floating down the lazy river in the park. It was a Sailor’s dream, a desert oasis.”

Other Sailors took advantage of the facilities on nearby NSA Bahrain by shopping at the Navy Exchange, exercising in the gym or using WiFi to talk to family and friends.

“Having the Exchange was a great opportunity to stock up on lifestyle items to make being underway more comfortable,” said Yeoman 2nd Class (SW) Ras-Neheisi Benzo. “I took advantage of the gym because working out on the ship you are limited with the type of exercises you can do.”

The base also afforded Jason Dunham’s Medical Department the opportunity to schedule appointments for the crew at the NSA Bahrain clinic. Twenty-one Jason Dunham Sailors were able to receive dental care, order eye glasses, fill prescriptions and see specialists.

“Having a clinic in the area is a huge asset,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AW/EXW) Mandy Broderick, and independent duty corpsman and Jason Dunham’s senior medical department representative.

“Being on a smaller ship, we just don’t have the space or equipment to be able to provide all the care a Sailor needs. But with the clinic we were able to get all our Sailors taken care of so they don’t have to worry about anything, and they can focus on the mission.”

The port visit wrapped up with a formal change of office ceremony for the position of command master chief on Jason Dunham’s flight deck, held Oct. 17. Command Master Chief (SW/SS) Raymond Chamberlain, Jason Dunham’s first command master chief, was relieved by Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Stephen Vandergrifft. Chamberlain had been with the crew since the ship was built, and is retiring after 30 years of service in the Navy.

“This is an incredible crew,” said Chamberlain. “I consider myself very lucky to have been able to take the ship all the way from pre-commissioning to her maiden deployment. It’s sad to be leaving, but I couldn’t imagine a better ending.”

From wishing the first command master chief fair winds and following seas to experiencing attractions to purchasing comfort items at the NEX, Dunham Sailors had an enjoyable port visit to Bahrain.

Dunham is on her maiden deployment, and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility conducting maritime security operations and is supporting missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Naval Today Staff,October 23, 2012