News: USS Rushmore Relaxes In Abu Dhabi
Story by Cpl. Timothy Childers
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Marines and Sailors aboard dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) visited Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, from Jan. 26-29, to give service servicemembers opportunities to experience a foreign country. It was the first liberty port the ship visited after the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed three training exercises in the region.
While there, tours were offered by the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation office to explore many of the city’s attractions. The troops tried local foods, shopped and visited some entertainment venues.
“We haven’t had a real liberty port since Australia in October,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Samuel D. Rios Fire Control Team 32, Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Command Element, and 15th MEU. “It was well needed to relax from the daily grind. It was a good time and I was happy to see another part of the world.”
The stop was the first chance during the deployment that Marines and Sailors could explore and experience a major cultural hub in the Middle East.
“This was the first time I talked to people and experienced the culture of this region,” said Lance Cpl. Clayton P. Atkinson, fire-direction controller, Battery B, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th MEU. “We walked around most of the city and found the people very friendly. This is something many people don’t get the chance to see, and I’m glad I could broaden my horizons. It changes your impression on the world and builds more friendships.”
Port visits are a chance to share cultural differences, as well as enrich a Marine or Sailor’s knowledge of the outside world.
“I found Abu Dhabi to be very interesting,” said Rios, a 23-year-old native of New Jersey. “This was my first experience in this kind of culture. It broadens our outlook on the world. It’s a fruitful experience for Marines to understand Middle Eastern culture in today’s day and age.”
Now that the Marines and Sailors have returned to the ship, their morale is high and they are ready to continue their hard work overseas.
The 15th MEU is deployed as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force, providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.