Story Number: NNS140312-02Release Date: 3/12/2014 9:01:00 AM
From USS Philippine Sea Public Affairs
AKSAZ, Turkey (NNS) -- Guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), attached to the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG), departed Aksaz, Turkey March 12, to continue its scheduled deployment in the 6th fleet area of operations.
The port visit provided an opportunity to work with partners and strengthen bonds between the U.S. and Turkey, refuel and restock the ship, and allow the crew to have liberty. Philippine Sea's crew was able to enjoy the city of Aksaz and its many different shops and restaurants.
"The people were very friendly, the food was delicious, and we had an amazing time experiencing the culture," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher Welshman.
The Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) office offered multiple prearranged tours giving Sailors opportunities to immerse themselves into the local culture. Some of the tours included trips to the historical city of Ephesus and the Virgin Mary house while other tours offered the chance to experience Turkish mud baths and hot springs.
Philippine Sea also hosted 10 Turkish officers for a luncheon and tour of the ship including an SH-60R Seahawk helicopter demonstration.
"The luncheon served as a wonderful opportunity to thank the Turkish naval officers for hosting us in Aksaz," said Lt. j.g. Molly Hanas, the ship's navigator. "We enjoyed learning the similarities and differences between our naval cultures,"
Philippine Sea and other ships of the GHWBSCSG are on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th fleet area of operations.
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.