News: Sailors and Marines visit students in Hong Kong
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robin W. Peak
USS Makin Island Public Affairs
HONG KONG — Fourteen Sailors and Marines aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) visited young men at the Hong Kong Student Aid Society Holland Hostel as part of a community relations event Aug. 21.
Cmdr. Timothy Moore, chaplain aboard Makin Island, and the chaplain department organized and facilitated the COMREL event.
“Going out and doing projects like this shows a lot of compassion and it’s a different and truly meaningful way to experience the culture of a place,” said Moore.
The day started with a brief on the history and general overview of the program led by Superintendant Chan Wing Chun.
Chun said that since 1967 Hong Kong Student Aid Society has been providing a plethora of services targeted at young men ages 11 and up with various personal and family issues. The organization, in part, works at developing students through a range of recreational activities including music and sports.
The service members had the opportunity to experience some of the activities first hand during their visit.
Five students performed as a band for the service members and later the students invited the service members to compete with them in a rowing competition and basketball game.
The basketball game had two service members and three students to each team. The teams would rotate in players every 10 minutes so everybody that wanted to play could. The game lasted one hour and everyone at the hostel was in attendance watching. Though no score was kept, the service members and students high-fived and congratulated each other every score and at the end of the game.
“It was a great time,” said Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Salvador F. Orbita. “It’s an amazing feeling knowing that in some small way you affected someone positively even if it’s just playing sports or sharing your experiences with them.”
When asked what his most memorable moment of the day was Moore said, “The concert and the basketball game. Music and sports are universal languages, and even though we come from different places, it was amazing to see that unity among the service members and the students with those two activities.”
Chun said in regards to the visit, “We are really grateful to have had these men and women come here to spend time with the boys. Watching the way they interacted with each other is truly amazing and it really meant a lot to the students here.”
The chaplain department is planning to facilitate more COMREL events throughout deployment and service members are encouraged to contact them for details and opportunities to serve on a project.
Makin Island, the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, is on a deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit to promote peace and freedom of the seas by providing security and stability in the 7th fleet area of operations.
For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.