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Navy Ships Join 2008 Portland Rose Festival

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080606-11
Release Date: 6/6/2008 1:34:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Maebel Ysog Tinoko, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Det. Northwest

PORTLAND, Ore. (NNS) -- Hundreds of Portland residents and visitors gathered at Tom McCall Waterfront Park to show a patriotic welcome to the men and women of the U.S. Navy as they arrived pier side in Portland, June 5, to celebrate the 101st annual Portland Rose Festival.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), the guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Preble (DDG 88) are the featured Navy ships in this year's fleet week.

For one Sailor, visiting Portland is a very meaningful port call because he is returning to his own hometown.

"My father got to ride the USS Lake Champlain from Kalama, Ore., and experienced a day on the ship with me," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW) Corey Sommer. "It's always great to be able to come back to my hometown and take a break from being at sea. I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend; this is precious time to spend with my family."

Throughout the week, Sailors are given a chance to enjoy premier events of the festival such as the Centennial Grand Floral Parade, which features all-floral floats, live music, food, entertainment, marching bands and sport competitions among ships.

One Sailor said that visiting Portland is a way to learn about the naval traditions and history.

"I think it's great to be able to celebrate a part of Navy's history by being present for the Portland Rose Festival," said Engineman 3rd Class Derek Isaksun, of Lake Champlain. "I can't wait to go white water rafting and see a new city. It's my first time here and the support from the community has been awesome."

For Sonar Technician Seaman Crystal McNeill, Preble Sailor, visiting Portland was a good break from the daily work routine.

"I am excited to see old friends and try new restaurants around the city," said McNeill. "I really look forward to relaxing at a spa and being able to celebrate the Rose Festival events throughout the week."

Navy warships have been coming to the City of Roses since USS Charleston's visit in 1907 and are considered a highlight of the festival.

For more news from Commander, Navy Region Northwest, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrnw/.

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