The port visit on by USS Comstock (LSD 45) in Sepanggar Port benefited both the United Stated Navy (USN) and Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), as one had the chance to sample another culture while the others learned a little of the other.
The American 25-year-old amphibious assault ship was a sight to behold with history to admire in its missions of bilateral exercises with many countries, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief before transitioning to the U.S. 7th Fleet AOO.
With some 400 sailors and 400 marines on board, it docked in Sabah the second of three port visits before its traveled back to home port San Diego.
It had spent the last four months participating in a number of amphibious and interoperability exercises, according to Scott T. Tasin, the commanding officer of Comstock, their Sailors and Marines had indulged in many activities and taking opportunities to experience the tourism spots of the host country, here being whitewater rafting.
Tasin opined that Sabah is the best port visit since their deployment.
“We are impressed with the beautiful view of Sabah when we docked in. It was a great trip. I have a great crew. They worked really hard for the past five months or so and it was nice to see them have a time to enjoy and relax. The tour experiences here were exciting. The food is fantastic and the culture is great.”
A Navy fire control-woman, Gabrielle South, 24 emphasised that she had a great time during their visit in Sabah.
“Sabah is beautiful. We went for whitewater rafting and scuba diving. It’s really great. People are so friendly. It’s awesome,” she added.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old Elaina Ponchione, said the crew was extremely excited to visit Sabah and they had experienced many of the outdoor tours and cultural activities of RMN.
“We’ve got some time to explore the beautiful cultures and learned a lot. We’ll be back in a few days. I can’t wait for the next post visit in Sabah,” she stated.
Another young USN, Matt Steffens, 22, said that they received a very warm welcome when they arrived here.
“I enjoyed being here and I appreciate the people’s warmth. They are so welcoming and everyone had a great time. We enjoyed nature including the mountain and the river.”
One of the administrative officer of the submarine training center in Peninsula, Mohd. Ikhwan Mohd. Noor opined that many of RMN workers from Peninsular were sent to enhance their knowledge from the LSD 45.
“It’s a great exchange and sharing of knowledge and since the amphibious ship won’t go to the Peninsula Malaysia due to topography and boundary conditions. I am glad to have come here and gained this experience,” he said. – By Saila Saidie/Sayangsabah.