Subject: USGov: USS Lassen in Dili for Goodwill Visit

Lassen in Dili for Goodwill Visit

January 29, 2009 Navy News|by MC2 Brock A. Taylor

DILI, Timor-Leste - The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) arrived off the coast of Dili, Timor-Leste Jan. 26 for a scheduled port visit.

During their visit, Lassen's crew of 330 Sailors, including Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) 51 Detachment 6, will have a chance to meet the citizens of Dili and experience the culture of the largest city in Timor-Leste. Lassen will undertake a series of community relations projects, including repairing and painting a school, visiting children at a local orphanage, and visiting patients at a local hospital. In addition, Lassen will distribute Project Handclasp goodwill materials to local charities.

"The officers and crew of Lassen are excited to be here, and look forward to strengthening our relationship with the people of Timor-Leste while expanding on the development assistance program that exists between our two countries," said Cmdr. Anthony Simmons, commanding officer of the Lassen.

"Particularly, I'm excited to know Lassen has more than 200 Sailors eagerly awaiting to participate in a community relations project that includes the beautification of a prominent school."

Lassen is the first U.S. Navy ship to visit Timor-Leste since July 2008 when the U.S. naval hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) made a humanitarian aid visit to the country during Pacific Partnership 2008.

Lassen is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and patrols the 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting routine operations.

Operating in the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, the U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets covering 48 million square miles, with approximately 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft, and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any time.

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