By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold
Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) participated in a community relations project at the Normandy American Cemetery in Normandy, France, Oct. 19, 2017.
After touring the grounds of the cemetery and observing Omaha Beach, the Sailors volunteered their time to clean tombstones of fallen World War II heroes.
“Taking a trip to the American cemetery was a unique opportunity that reminded me of all the sacrifices our fallen heroes have made,” said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Gerri Ripple. “It felt empowering to be able to help maintain such a monument and to see the impact was a reward all on its own.”
Using water and pumice stones Sailors cleaned detritus that had formed on the tombstones to help preserve them.
“We at the American Battle Monuments Commission and the Normandy American Cemetery want to thank the Sailors from Donald Cook for their help in maintaining the monument,” said the assistant superintendent Mr. Walter Benjamin. “We also want to thank them for there continued sacrifice and service not only here volunteering their off time but in defense of our great nation.”
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.