Photo Information

Marines and sailors serving with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit carry bags of leaves here Dec. 22 during a community service event at the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Missionary Center. The Camp Pendleton, Calif., unit embarked three U.S. Navy ships in San Diego Nov. 14 and arrived in Singapore Dec. 21 as part of a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East regions.

Photo by Cpl. Gene Allen Ainsworth III

Marines, sailors volunteer in Singapore community

22 Dec 2011 | Sgt. Elyssa Quesada 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Forty service members volunteered at the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped building and at the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Missionary Center here Dec. 22.

Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and sailors aboard USS Makin Island cleared brush, fixed lights and cleaned storage areas, according to Sgt. Tyler Gaskill, the supply chief for Battalion Landing Team 3/1, the ground combat element for the unit.

“The events were 100-percent successful,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Hatondra Willis, a religious programs specialist with the Marine unit. “We had the right amount of people, and we were able to accomplish everything they asked us to do.”

American service members visiting Singapore have volunteered for the association since 2008, with more than 10 groups helping to maintain the area, according to association member Siow-Huee Tan.

“It’s a privilege and it’s part of being a Marine – being able to help out someone who needs it,” said Sgt. Phillip Blackwell, a vehicle commander with the team.

While deployed, community events give service members an opportunity to see a different side of each country and interact with the culture, said Blackwell, 27, who is from Memphis.

“It feels good to be able to help out those who are in need,” said Gaskill, 25, who hails from East Liverpool, Ohio.

“I think the opportunity is very beneficial for both of us to interact,” said Tan. “We are very grateful for you all to come and help out and make this a safer and cleaner place for the visually impaired.”

The Camp Pendleton, Calif., unit deployed from San Diego Nov. 14 and arrived in Southeastern Asia Dec. 21 as part of a regularly scheduled deployment.

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