USS BATAAN, Norfolk, Va. -- Two Sailors assigned to the operations department from the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) spent June 19-26 onboard the Brazilian ship BNS Independencia.
Sailors usually concentrate on the day-to-day missions of their ship, but another important function of all Sailors is to interact with international allies to foster good relations and strengthen existing relationships.
Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Joseph Davis and Operations Specialist 2nd Class Austin Asher experienced life aboard the Independencia and formed friendships with their colleagues. The Sailors had the opportunity to experience how different life is in the Brazilian navy.
"There were water restrictions because there were three 45-minute periods for taking showers," said Davis. "We took showers whenever we saw other people take showers. We had a translator with us, ate rice and beans for every meal, slept in a normal berthing, and were given a space to work out of and a watch schedule."
Though the duration of the trip was only eight days, there was plenty for the Sailors to experience.
"The gym was located in one of the bigger passageways and didn't have its own designated space," said Davis. "We were on the frigate during a tropical storm, and the ship rocked back and forth pretty good. It was a good experience, a lot different than how we do things."
Other than ship life, the Sailors agreed that the transit home was just as eventful.
"We went all the way down to South Carolina, took a rigid-hull inflatable boat to one of our destroyers, and flew to the USS Wasp," said Asher. "We stayed a night there and flew back to the Bataan."
The trip was a success, and both Sailors have returned to Bataan with a new appreciation for their allies.
Bataan is currently in its homeport of Norfolk, Va., undergoing planned maintenance availability.