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Marines, sailors use MEU 'muscle' for good cause in Singapore

16 Dec 2007 | Staff Sgt. Sergio Jimenez 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines and sailors from 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group 3 are using their time off to take part in three friendship-building community relations projects during their port visit here.

 The Marines and sailors, who are embarked on the USS Tarawa (LHA-1) are making their first port visit since leaving San Diego Nov 4. and since providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Bangladesh during Operation Sea Angel II Dec. 4-6.

 More than 30 volunteers woke up early and spent their morning and early afternoon breaking some serious sweat by cleaning buildings and doing minor landscaping at the Archdiocesan Commission For The Pastoral Care Of Migrants & Itinerant People, ACMI.

 The community center provides migrants and domestic workers with meals and a place to go for community fellowship and livelihood skills training, according to the center’s website.

 Some of the Marines said they volunteered because they like helping people and because they wanted to do something other than shop and be tourists.

 “We pulled two trees out of the ground, moved many large rocks that were in the way, mowed lawns, trimmed hedges and other area beautification projects,” said Sgt. Mario E. Perez, radio operator from Marine Air Control Group 38, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 (Reinforced), 11th MEU (SOC).

 Some of the work was tough but was well worth it, said Perez, who is from East Los Angeles, Calif. “The manager and the people there were really happy that we came out to provide our muscle for these projects,” he said.

 According to Perez, the members of the community center were not the only ones to benefit from the hard work of the Marines and Sailors.

 Sgt. Michael L. Wilkinson, air support net operator, MACG-38, said the project made him feel good to be doing something good for the local people and he believes the others felt the same way. On the job, Wilkinson helps the ground and aviation combat elements communicate with each other, but that day, he felt that he was helping build better relations between the American and Singaporean people, he said.

 “We also got to see a different part of Singapore, away from the tourist areas, the shopping malls, and see how some people actually live,” said Perez. “That was pretty cool.”

 Tomorrow, more than 30 volunteers will roll up their sleeves and spend the day cleaning sections of Pulau Ubin Beach in cooperation with the Singapore National Environmental Agency. On Tuesday, Dec. 18, more volunteers will spend the day playing with children at the Singapore Sunbeam Science Center.

 The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) is made up of its Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 11; and its Command Element. The 11th MEU (SOC) is currently on a scheduled deployment through the Western Pacific Ocean and Arabian Gulf region.

 For more information about the 11th MEU (SOC) visit their website at

 To view more images click on this link

 For high resolution images for this and any 11th MEU (SOC) story contact Staff Sgt. Sergio Jimenez

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