Guam - 25 members of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit from the USS Essex volunteered their time and services at the Skilled Nursing Unit in Barrigada Heights today.  From singing, playing boardgames and reading to waterblasting and fixing up the landscaping, Chaplan Ron Bailey says the unit understands the importance of helping communities they visit.

"We didn't pull into port, we came off the ship especially just to be able to do this. It was arranged by our public affairs officer. Really a great opportunity. Community relations is always important - just enhancing relations wherever it may be," he said.

The Essex was participating in the Operation Valiant Shield exercises.  The more than 1,000 crewmembers provide humanitarian assistance to the places they visit.