USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) departed Marseille, France, June 12, concluding a four day port visit to the second largest city in France.
While participating in France's celebration of 100 years of naval aviation, Truman held a sunset reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador Charles Rivkin and crew members participated in more than 100 hours of community relations projects.
"You and your families embody the best of America," said Rivkin, to Truman sailors and Marines. "We are proud to see you here in France, working hand-in-hand with your French counterparts."
Truman sailors and Marines used their time in France to sight-see, relax and to interact with the local community. Many service members took advantage of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation tours to visit Paris, Monaco, Aix-en-Provence and Arles.
"I took the French Riviera tour," said Navy Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Lashandrea Young. "We took a bus to Cannes, stayed overnight in Nice and went to Monte Carlo the next day. I liked the variety of things to do."
French hospitality extended throughout France, with many Navy supporters welcoming the Truman Strike Group into their homes.
"It is a pleasure to welcome U.S. sailors to Marseille and to share our adopted French lifestyle with you," said Deborah Cozzone, president of the Navy League in Marseille.
For several service members, it was their first time to France.
"France was awesome," said Navy Aviation Boatswain Mate (Fuels) Airman Tiffany Thomas, from Byhalia, Miss. "It was a culture shock, but there was so much to see and do - it was all interesting."
Six community relations projects were completed during the port visit, with 105 crew members performing grounds-keeping work at schools and churches and helping to construct an internet cafe for merchant sailors.
"The crew's enthusiasm for volunteering in Marseille exceeded that of any I have seen anywhere in my 16 years in the Navy," said Navy Cmdr. Jerome Hinson, the Truman's command chaplain.
After departing Marseille, the Truman anchored off the coast of Hyers to allow embarked aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 3 to participate in the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation Air Show June 13.
"It was a great pleasure to be in Marseille," said Navy Capt. Joe Clarkson, Truman's commanding officer. "France and the United States have always had a special relationship, going all the way back to the birth of our nation, and it was an honor to be with them as they celebrate a century of naval aviation."