LISBON, Portugal (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) left Lisbon Jan. 29, concluding the first port visit during ship's 21st deployment.
The Big 'E' demonstrated that it was possible to combine fun, safety and responsibility, while enjoying liberty abroad.
Enterprise Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Keith G. Oxley said he was proud of the crew's performance while in port, and he thinks most Sailors gave Portuguese a good impression of the United States.
"This was a very successful port for all of us," said Oxley. "Through good leadership, liberty briefs, and publicizing our expectations, we accomplished our goal of having no reportable liberty incidents."
Oxley said that successful port visits such as this one will help the strike group allow Enterprise to enjoy more freedoms in future ports, such as overnight liberty and less restrictive rules.
"We're on the right track," said Oxley. "We need to maintain our good track record and keep achieving our goals. If there is even one incident we could lose the chance to have things like overnight liberty for more people in the future."
For some Sailors, this was their first port visit. For Personnel Specialist Seaman Cody Benard, it was his first time leaving the United States and seeing a different culture. He said it was an interesting and fun experience, and he is looking forward to the next port visit.
"I enjoyed it a lot, I saw lots of new things," said Benard. "It was beautiful...I'd love to go back."
While Benard said he enjoyed himself and had fun with his liberty buddies, he found the rules to be helpful and easy to follow.
"We did really well," said Benard. "We didn't go crazy or anything. I thought the rules would be really strict and hard to go by, but it was really easy to do things right."
Oxley said he would like to remind the crew that this was the type of behavior he expects for every port visit from this point on.
"Stay focused on the liberty mission," said Oxley. "Just do the same thing you did in Lisbon. You represent Enterprise and the Navy as a whole."
Overall, Oxley said he was glad the Sailors enjoyed themselves and experienced a different culture while also painting a positive picture of America for the Portuguese to remember long after Enterprise leaves.
The ship invited more than 1,000 guests to the ship for a reception, tours and media visits, during the four-day visit.
The crew participated in three community relations projects, and senior military commanders from both countries held briefings and meetings discussing military-to-military capabilities while the crew took in the sights and sounds that their host nation provided.
"We went out, tried the local cuisine, shopped, participated in community relations projects, and had a good time," said Oxley. "We portrayed our ship in a positive light."
Enterprise Strike Group consists of Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Mason (DDG 87); USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8), Carrier Air Wing 1 and Destroyer Squadron 2.
For news regarding Enterprise Strike Group's deployment, visit the USS Enterprise Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USS.Enterprise.CVN.65
For more news from USS Enterprise (CVN 65), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn65/.