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ArlingtonCARE packages from Arlington dispatched to namesake ship

CARE packages from Arlington dispatched to namesake ship

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Sailors and Marines aboard the U.S. Navy’s USS Arlington recently received CARE packages – totaling more than 500 pounds – due to a local effort.

The initiative was conceived by the USS Arlington Community Alliance, which has supported the ship and its personnel since its commissioning nearly a decade ago.

“The sailors and Marines on the USS Arlington represent Pentagon 9/11 families, the first-responders to the Pentagon on 9/11 and the Arlington community. We wanted to show our support of them while deployed,” said Kevin Reardon, a retired Arlington police captain who saw service at the Pentagon after the 2001 terrorist attack there and long has been active in the USS Arlington Community Alliance.

Oakridge Elementary School, Nestle, Keefer Group and the Arlington County government were among those who helped stock the 200 packages with candy, snacks, toiletries, water bottles and more. Oakridge students wrote personalized notes to the crew.

Since March, the USS Arlington has been on its current deployment as part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, with Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard. The ship recently completed mid-deployment-voyage repairs in Croatia before returning to sea.

In the current deployment, the USS Arlington has gone to Iceland for Exercise Northern Viking, throughout the Mediterranean in support of Exercise Alexander the Great, and off the coast of Tunisia for Exercise African Lion.

As a landing platform dock, the USS Arlington is tasked with transporting 800 U.S. Marines to world hot-spots and on humanitarian missions. It is the third Navy ship to bear the county’s name, succeeding a World War II-era transport and a Vietnam-era communications-relay vessel.

The name “Arlington” was selected for the ship to honor the first-responders of the Arlington County public-safety agencies who responded to the Pentagon in the wake of the 2011 terrorist attacks. The ship’s sponsor is Joyce Rumsfeld, the wife of Donald Rumsfeld, who while serving as Defense Secretary was at the Pentagon during the attack that left 184 victims dead.

As part of the run-up to the ship’s 2013 commissioning, a group of local leaders in Arlington banded together to raise funds to support a “tribute room” honoring first-responders, as well as provide support for the ship’s crew. The 11-month effort by the USS Arlington Commissioning Committee brought in $440,000 in pledges and contributions.

The USS Arlington Community Alliance is a successor to the commissioning committee.

• • •

While the CARE packages have been shipped, community support is being requested to assist with shipping costs. For information, and other ways to support the ship and its crew, see the Website at www.ussarlington.org.

Photo courtesy Kevin Reardon shows personnel aboard USS Arlington receiving CARE packages from the ship’s namesake community.
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