PORTLAND, Ore. (NNS) -- Thousands of spectators lined the shores in Portland, Ore., June 8 to get a glimpse of U.S. Navy ships pulling up near the downtown area.
The event marked the beginning of Portland Rose Festival's Fleet Week, an annual event in which ships from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian navy transit up the Columbia River to take part in the festival.
This year, USS Preble (DDG 88) led the way as the flagship to host events between the Navy and the community of Portland.
For many participating Sailors, like Electronics Technician 3rd Class (SW) William Muckenfuss, from Las Vegas, Fleet Week is an exciting event that will let Sailors interact with the local community to tell the Navy story.
"People are really excited to see Sailors," said Muckenfuss. "Portland is not a Navy town like San Diego; they are not used to seeing Sailors, so this just adds to the festival of events like icing on a cake."
Seaman Apprentice Richard McCardle, from Sunnyside, Wash., said he was looking forward to seeing friends and family in the Portland area.
"The Portland area is a pretty fun area with lots to do," said McCardle. "I'm hoping to connect up with my family if I can work something out."
For Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW) Chris Force, from North Carolina, the Portland Rose Festival will be as large and exciting as New York's Fleet Week, and he said he looked forward to showing off his ship.
"We are going to be the premier ship, the newest ship coming into Portland."
Force is also looking forward to visiting a cousin in the area, who will be waiting for the ships to pull in.
"She's in a nursing program in Portland. I'm going to get her on board and show her around the main decks, the five-inch gun and my working space." Force also plans on getting out and seeing the nightlife and businesses in the area.
"I love seeing this side of the country," he said. "It's a beautiful area with lots of attractions."
Preble is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and is the sixth ship in the Navy to bear the name. The ship was commissioned Nov. 9, 2002, and is homeported in San Diego.
Other ships participating in this year's Rose Festival include USS Ingraham (FFG 61), USS Rentz (FFG 46) and USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53).
For more information about Preble, visit the ship's Web site at www.preble.navy.mil.
For related news, visit the Northwest Region Fleet Public Affairs Center Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/nwpacen/.