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    USS Jason Dunham departs Haifa, Israel

    HAIFA, Israel – The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) departed Haifa, Israel, June 24, following a six-day scheduled port visit.

    While in port, crewmembers explored historic parts of Israel through guided tours planned by the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) team. Sailors took day trips to tour different areas including Jerusalem, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Mount Carmel and the Dead Sea.

    The break from underway operations also gave Sailors the opportunity to volunteer in planned community relations (COMREL) projects with two local organizations, the Arab College of Education in Haifa and the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors.

    “COMRELs are a chance for Sailors to show the human side of the Navy and represent our country in a positive way that maybe breaks perceived cultural barriers,” said Lt. Micky Weikel, Dunham’s chaplain who helped coordinate the projects.

    At the Arab College of Education, Sailors spent time engaging with students to practice conversational English and learn from one another.

    “It was a great experience to meet and talk with the students,” said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Elizabeth Guest. “I learned that the students’ lives are very equivalent to ours, and they deal with a lot of the same issues young people go through in America.”

    Guest said although people may be from different countries or cultures, we’re all similar, and we all have our challenges.

    Dunham’s Sailors also visited the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors, a local charity that provides assisted-living services and a family-like community for more than 80 survivors.
    At the home, Sailors met Rita Kasimow Brown, a Holocaust survivor who told her story about living through the troubling period as a child.

    “It was a very moving experience to hear first hand from someone who survived the Holocaust,” said Chaplain Weikel. “Especially for me being a father, to think that my children would suffer that kind of experience was very heartbreaking.”

    Weikel said the real service Sailors gave was just being present to listen.

    “Our service to them is to share their stories, to help give them a legacy and pass on the history of what really happened,” said Weikel.

    Dunham, part of Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, will continue on deployment, conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.24.2018
    Date Posted: 06.29.2018 18:13
    Story ID: 282903
    Location: HAIFA, IL 

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