By Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Todd C. Behrman, Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs
OKINAWA, Japan - The forward-deployed amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) departed Okinawa, Japan, Feb. 27 after embarking Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
Denver and the 31st MEU, which consist of ground command, air and combat support elements, are scheduled to conduct joint force operations and training including amphibious integration training (AIT) and a certification exercise (CERTEX) in the 7th Fleet area of operations.
“We are thrilled to be working alongside the crew of the USS Denver,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian D. Baker, Company F gunnery sgt., Battalion Landing Team (BLT) Second Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st MEU. “The working relationship has been excellent and we are excited to combine our capabilities during the upcoming deployment.”
During the port visit Sailors participated in two cultural exchange events with members of the local community. These events gave Sailors from Denver and embarked Sailors from Naval Beach Unit 7 the chance to visit and interact with local schoolchildren, play games and dance to traditional music.
“It was important to help further a positive image of the U.S. Navy for local Japanese residents in Okinawa and at large in support of the whole U.S.-Japan alliance,” said Lt. Robert Spivey, Denver’s Chaplain.
Additionally, Sailors also had the opportunity to take an MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) sponsored tour to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, the third largest aquarium in the world.
Denver is assigned to the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group. This is Denver’s last scheduled deployment, as the ship is slated for decommissioning later this year.