USS DENVER, At Sea (NNS) -- A U.S. Senator along with three other distinguished guests from South Carolina visited "The Finest Gator in the Fleet," USS Denver (LPD 9) Aug. 10.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, U.S. Reps. Bob Inglis and Henry E. Brown Jr., as well as South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford visited Denver during the ship's port call in the United Arab Emirates.
Denver's Commanding Officer, Capt. Joe Clarkson, welcomed the delegation aboard the 39 year-old ship where they made their way to the wardroom for a brief outlining ship's statistics, information about the crew and a discussion of the ship's current deployment.
Following the brief, the delegation asked the captain many questions to include "what [was] his main concern?" Clarkson reiterated the importance of the ship's mission, but also indicated a major concern as a commanding officer of a ship deployed to the Persian Gulf is "getting everyone home safely."
The guests then toured the Pilot House where they met Quartermaster 3rd Class Carlos Salcedo, a fellow South Carolinian.
"This was the first time I met a Senator," said Salcedo, the chart correction and weather petty officer. "He was friendlier than I thought [he would be]. It was nice of him to come to the ship. We both agreed it is as hot here as it is in South Carolina."
The hour-long tour included stops unique to an amphibious ship, to include the flight deck, the welldeck and various troop spaces. Many Denver Sailors were standing by with salutations as the delegation departed.
Clarkson said the tour was beneficial for the crew and delegation.
"I think it is important for our lawmakers to get an 'eyes on' view of our ships and Sailors while deployed and for our Sailors to have a chance to meet and talk to their elected representatives in the government," said Clarkson.
"For the lawmakers it gives them a better appreciation of the challenges our deployed military forces face every day and for our Sailors it puts a personal face on the government. It was a great visit for everyone and I was honored to have them on board Denver," Clarkson concluded.
Denver is currently conducting Maritime Security Operations in the Persian Gulf to help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations.
For more news from USS Denver, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/lpd9/.