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Navy Ships Host Ship Tours in Portland

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080609-17
Release Date: 6/9/2008 1:41:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (AW) Charles Whetstine, Fleet Public Affairs Det. Northwest

PORTLAND, Ore. (NNS) -- More than 7,000 Portland residents had an opportunity to tour Navy ships that were moored in downtown Portland, Ore., as part 2008 Rose Festival fleet week festivities June 5-9.

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) opened the ships to the public and hosted tours for this year's fleet week.

"A city like Portland doesn't get too much of a Navy presence here," said Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Brandon Davis, Lake Champlain tour guide. "These tours offer an outlet for the people of Portland to have a better understanding of what we do."

Spectators waited anxiously in lines nearly a half-mile long from the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland where the ships were moored.

"I've waited in line almost 3 hours," said Brad LaVassaur, a Portland native. "But it's well worth it. I look forward to checking out the Navy ships every year, especially now with my son. It's awesome; we love it!"

Visitors were organized into groups of twenty and were assigned a tour guide representing the different ships. The public also got a chance to learn and see what life is like for Sailors aboard ships and left with a better understanding of what the Navy does.

According to Damage Controlman 1st Class (SW/AW) Jeremy Wilson, just being able to interact with Portland residents was richly rewarding.

"Being able to show the Navy in a positive light and interacting with local community makes being a tour guide worthwhile," said Wilson.

"I've never been on a Navy ship before," said Gary Wright of Eugene, Ore., coming off a tour of Preble. "The tour really opened my eyes to what our Navy actually does and the great people who serve. As a tax-payer it's a sign of relief our money is well spent; as a civilian I'm even more proud of our brave servicemen and women because of this experience."

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

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