BRONX, Ny. (NNS) -- NORFOLK, VA-(May 28, 2018)--Military Sealift Command's newest expeditionary fast transport ship, USNS City of Bismarck (T-EPF 9) hosted 2,550 visitors during Fleet Week New York 2018, May 23-28 at State University New York Maritime College in Bronx, New York.
USNS City of Bismarck left Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story Little Creek in Norfolk, Virginia for transit up the East River to New York, May 23 to participate in the week-long celebration with 13 other ships. Fleet Week New York is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services, and an opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services.
"Community relations events such as these provide an opportunity for the public to meet MSC mariners and learn about the vital role they play in providing on-tome logistics, strategic sealift, and specialized mission support anywhere in the world," said Rear Adm. Dee Mewbourne, Commander, Military Sealift Command.
Throughout the week, USNS City of Bismarck received visits from thousands of students and residents from the local community, including 150 visitors from local non-profit organizations like New York Grey Cadets, Catholic Youth Organization cadets and Star of the Sea Cadets. Programs such as these aim to promote the core values of self-discipline, trust, academic excellence, respect, and responsibility within the school community and use military and liberal arts sciences to build students' skills in leadership, communication, academics, social emotional wellness and self-efficacy.
"Our visit to USNS City of Bismarck supported our mission and showed the cadets that after completing high school, they too could have the opportunity to serve their country and have the privilege to work on an impressive ship like USNS City of Bismarck," said Col. Dave Laguer, Corps Commander for New York Grey Cadets.
Eight U.S. Navy reservists were also embarked on USNS City of Bismarck to help facilitate tours throughout the week. The embarked Sailors not only had the chance to interact with visitors but were also able to interact with the civilian mariners aboard the ship.
"It was an outstanding opportunity for myself, as a mariner and a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves, it felt great to be that bridge between the two groups because although we work side-by-side together, we infrequently have the opportunity to actually work together in a capacity where we learn from each other," said Lt. Christopher Jackson.
Military Sealift Command accepted delivery of USNS City of Bismarck in December 2017 and has spent the last six months involved in sea trials and Final Contract Trials (FCT) to get the ship ready for its first mission later this year. Every newly built MSC ship has to undergo FCT ensuring compliance that all contractual obligations are met for the safe and proper operation of the ship and equipment. For some crewmembers, Fleet Week New York was the icing on the cake.
"We received a 9.4 which is the highest amongst all EPF's!" said Anthony Hayes, Second Engineer aboard USNS City of Bismarck. "After doing so well during Final Contract Trials and all the hard work we put in, coming here to Fleet Week, seeing the kids' faces, the parents, teachers, and police officers supporting us for the job that we do everyday was very refreshing."
USNS City of Bismarck's Navigation Operations Officer, Patricia Evenson, a Bismarck, North Dakota native and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point graduate shared her most memorable moment of the voyage with Sons of the American Legion Radio during an interview.
"I really enjoyed planning that trip up the East River more than anything I've done in the past," said Evenson. "I know the area well from having gone to school out here and visiting as a kid, and just to see the landmarks and the river from my own ship, named after my hometown, on a voyage that I planned is really indescribable."
"We had a very successful Final Contract Trial, a great testament to the skill and preparation of the crew," said Capt. James Regan, Master, USNS City of Bismarck. "Fleet Week felt like a great reward to be able to give to those guys and gals who did that work. It was an honor to be selected to go and it was a really enjoyable event for the entire crew."
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