Navy Fireman Apprentice Dakota D. Saunders, son of Teresa L. Saunders of Lometa, Texas and John S. Saunders of Lometa, Texas, and his fellow shipmates aboard USS Dubuque recently participated in a community relations project in Phuket, Thailand while assigned to the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group.
Volunteers from the strike group, which include sailors and Marines from USS Dubuque, USS Peleliu and USS Benfold, provided the labor and supplies to paint and renovate two of the vocational classrooms at the Phuket Panyanukul School (Phuket Special School). The Phuket Special School provides education and in some cases, a home to more than 150 deaf, autistic or mentally disabled children. Volunteers also distributed toys and other items to children at the school, as well as to local relief agencies.
USS Dubuque is a warship that embarks, transports and lands elements of a landing force for expeditionary warfare missions. Amphibious transport docks are generally designed to use landing craft to transport troops into a war zone.
Saunders is a 2007 graduate of Lometa High School of Lometa, Texas and joined the Navy in July 2007.