U.S. WARSHIP MAKES RARE STOP IN PNG

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By Clifford Faiparik

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 22) – The crew of the United States Navy destroyer USS Hooper visited Port Moresby General Hospital on Friday and donated about K20,000 (US$6,300) in much-needed medical supplies.

According to the ship’s spokesman, Ensign Jamie Homestead, they are returning to their homeport at Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Honolulu, Hawaii after spending five months patrolling the Gulf of Oman in the Middle East with coalition forces under Operation Enduring Friendship.

"We were out there patrolling the Gulf looking out for suspected smuggling of weapons and terrorists into Iraq," Homestead said. "We always donate medical supplies to places we visit."

Ensign Homestead said the ship has 303 crewmembers and this is the first time for all of them in PNG.

This is also the first time for a US Navy ship to come to Papua New Guinea in 10 years.

A jubilant PMGH Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Alphones Tay, said the donation is "very much appreciated especially when the hospital is running out of stock".

The USS Hopper sailed out of Port Moresby on Saturday after sailing in on Thursday to refuel and to allow its crew to experience a taste of PNG on their way home.

November 23, 2004

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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