Malabar 2017 COMREL Takes Sailors to the Hoop

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelsey Hockenberger

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CHENNAI, India (July 11, 2017) Capt. Kevin Lenox, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) flips a coin before a basketball game between U.S. Navy Sailors and students from the YMCA College of Physical Education. Princeton is currently deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional peace and security. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger/Released)

CHENNAI, India (July 11, 2017) Sailors assigned to Nimitz Carrier Strike Group participated in a community relations (COMREL) project at the YMCA College of Physical Education in Chennai, India, July 11 during Malabar 2017.

The COMREL brought together U.S. Navy Sailors and Indian youth to further diplomacy and highlight teamwork and leadership building among young athletes in India.

“It’s a real honor and privilege to be here at the YMCA College of Physical Education,” said Capt. Kevin Lenox, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). “Let’s play some basketball!”

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The COMREL consisted of a basketball game between the Sailors and the YMCA youth team.

“What a great day,” said Lt. JK Luckesen, from Orem, Utah, chaplain aboard USS Princeton (CG 59). “It was a friendly basketball game between Sailors and the young basketball players of India. The awesome sportsmanship, energy and overall fun made it a memorable day for everyone involved.”

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And a memorable day it was for Cryptologic Technician Technical 1st Class Ryan Wurth, from Beresford, S.D., who hoped for nothing more than extra time after the final buzzer sounded.

“I want a rematch,” said Wurth, smiling in defeat. “It was a good competition and a lot of fun. India has a great team. It brought back memories of when I played basketball in college.”

The basketball game is one of three COMRELS held during the shore phase of Malabar 2017.

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Malabar 2017 is a trilateral, two-phase exercise hosted by the Indian navy and held in Chennai and the waters of the Bay of Bengal. It consists of shore and sea phases that emphasize high-end warfighting skills, maritime superiority and power projection through subject-matter expert and professional talks on carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations; surface and antisubmarine warfare; medical operations; damage control; explosive ordnance disposal; helicopter operations; and visit, board, search and seizure operations.

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group consists of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 staff and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. The deployed units from DESRON 9 include the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and USS Kidd (DDG 100).

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