JOPLIN, Mo. (June 2, 2011) -- Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Andrew Scott, assigned to the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780), helps remove downed trees in Joplin, Mo. during clean-up after a devastating tornado that struck that city on May 22. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Yeoman Mike Shea.
By Lt. Jennifer Cragg, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs Officer
Groton, Conn. (NNS) -- Eight USS Missouri (SSN 780) Sailors departed their homeport in Groton, Conn., for Joplin, Mo., June 1, to assist with recovery efforts following a tornado that tour through city last month.
The eight Sailors elected to take voluntary leave for one week to assist victims and with cleanup efforts in Joplin.
"The real story here is simply Americans helping Americans," said Cmdr. Timothy Rexrode, USS Missouri commanding officer. "I am so proud of our Sailors, and I continue to find inspiration every day in the commitment of these young men to serve their nation; making a difference in the lives of others. The efforts of these Sailors are consistent with what we see in these type of events. Our Sailors are everyday people taking time away from work and spending their summer vacation budgets to help out where they can."
Sailors participating in this relief effort include Lt. j.g. Joe Innerst; Lt. j.g. Ryan Sullivan; Chief Yeoman (SS) Mike Shea; Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) C.J. Kohlhofer; Chief Culinary Specialist (SS) Andy Scott; Electronics Technician 1st Class (SS) Jason Fenley; Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SS/DV) Travis Fitzgerald, and Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SS) Pat Patterson.
The Missouri Sailors will be volunteering with Americorps, the American Red Cross, and the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, who are providing the Sailors with opportunities to assist with ongoing volunteer efforts.
"Our crew's affiliation with the state of Missouri and its people is quite strong, and we prize that affinity in the tradition of our ship's motto, 'United We Stand,'" said Rexrode.
In a sign of solidarity, Rexrode and his crew sent their prayers and condolences to the people of Missouri, May 22.
The Missouri crew consists of about 134 officers and enlisted personnel. Missouri is the fifth Navy ship to be named in honor of the people of the "Show Me State."
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