USS Essex Crew Takes A Break From Valiant Shield And Volunteers At GMH’s Skilled Nursing Unit


Guam- About 25 members of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit from the USS Essex used their day off to help patients and staff at the Guam Memorial Hospital’s Skilled Nursing Unit (SNU).

The Marines and Sailors are here on Guam because of Valiant Shield and certification exercises. SNU Physician Director Dr. John Steele says the visit was unexpected but a great experience.

“You know, people have been concerned that this military buildup is gong to unsettle things” said Steele. “But meetings like this and community interactions are just exactly what we need so people are not odd or not alarmed by this military presence, which is definitely our future.”

Commander Ray Bailey adds spending most of their day at the Barrigada Heights facility to bond with patients and help the GMH staff was a blessing.”

“Our Marines have gotten into the rooms and been able to talk with the folks and converse with them” said Bailey. “ It really ends up being a double blessing. I think obviously it’s a blessing for the folks here but equal, if not more, for our Marines and Sailors to have opportunities like this.”

The crew from the USS Essex leaves Wednesday. The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is based in Okinawa, Japan.