SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — After almost six months under way, the USS Safeguard is to return to Sasebo’s India Basin this weekend to a hearty welcome from the base community.

“Sometimes when the large decks get the attention and big welcome back, it seems like the smaller ships are left out,” said Master Chief Petty Officer J.D. Blevins, command master chief for Amphibious Group One, who helped organize the Safeguard’s welcoming.

“I want to make sure that these sailors get a welcome they deserve.”

Blevins said most of the organizations on base are participating in some fashion; all festivities will be held at India Basin.

Huge arches of water will be provided by the Commander, Naval Forces Japan, Regional Fire Department.

Sasebo’s Navy League Council is providing grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for the crew and entertainment by Sasebo city’s 32-member Seran Yosakoi Dancers, said Jerry Havens, president of the council’s Sasebo chapter.

In addition, coupons and tents will be provided by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation department and baked goods with goodie bags will be given to crewmembers by the Safeguard Family Support Group.

Sailors on duty during Safeguard’s first night back will receive pizza from MWR, Blevins said.

“At the least, this will be giving the cooks a break,” he said.

The ship, which has a crew of about 100 sailors, has completed diving operations with seven countries since departing Sasebo in April, including the U.S. Navy’s first-ever salvage exercise with the Indian navy in September.

The crew conducted 12 days of combined dive exercises off India’s western coast city of Cochin.

The Safeguard also participated through the spring and summer in various phases of the 2005 Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise.

Safeguard is a rescue and salvage ship that has operated from Sasebo since 1999.

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