San Diego, California - Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) participated in a community relations (COMREL) event on the USS Midway Museum last week.
Sailors volunteered their time to preserve the museum by renovating parts of the ship.
“The purpose of this COMREL is to get more engaged with the community,” said Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class Luis Castro. “Our commanding officer encourages us to get out there and be more involved and show how much we care about our new home [San Diego]. This COMREL is a little different as we’re working to preserve some of our history as Sailors and I think this is a great opportunity to get out to the public.”
The USS Midway Museum is a former U.S. Navy aircraft carrier that was operational from 1945 until 1992 and now serves as a museum in downtown San Diego.
“Our crew is about 280 paid staff and 800 volunteers,” said Daniel Buscemi, a retired U.S. Navy Master Chief and the senior ship repair and maintenance supervisor of the USS Midway Museum. “Eight hundred volunteers that make this thing work. I say it’s a dead carrier but it’s really a live carrier; it’s just that its mission has changed. You walk through the hangar bay and your still ducking aircraft and there are people everywhere. If you don’t look outside it still has the feel of a functioning carrier.”
Bonhomme Richard Sailors like Airman Recruit Leopoldo Lopez Hernandez, from Houston, Texas, spent time cleaning up some of the more neglected parts of the ship in an effort to keep the museum up to standards.
“It’s a piece of our history and we have to preserve it,” said Lopez Hernandez. “The same way we preserve our ship to keep us ready, we should try and preserve this one and keep this ship ready for the people who come here to see our history.”
“The volunteers, from Bonhomme Richard for example, come over and give their time to help us preserve this ship and its mission,” said Buscemi. “The volunteers make this place work, without them we could not be successful. The volunteers create the Midway magic that people love about this place. You guys are what help us keep this place clean and functioning and we couldn’t function without people like you.”
Bonhomme Richard is in its homeport of San Diego.