USS JAMES E. WILLIAMS, At Sea (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) departed Civitavecchia, Italy, March 30, after concluding a regularly-scheduled port visit.
The visit served to continue U.S. 6th Fleet efforts to build global maritime partnerships with European nations and improve maritime safety and security in the region, while also giving the crew an opportunity to discover the rich culture of the region.
Civitavecchia is also known as the "Port of Rome," and apart from being a center for maritime transport and shipping in Italy, is linked to Rome by railway.
The ease of access afforded the crew aboard James E. Williams a unique opportunity to visit historic and culturally-significant sites within the surrounding area.
"Liberty, the ability to experience another country," said Cmdr. Christopher M. Senenko, commanding officer of James E. Williams, "is a part of the culture of being a Sailor of the seas, and an important reason for why they joined."
"This is a first deployment and liberty port for about 70 percent of the crew," said Command Master Chief William G. Cramer, Command Master Chief of James E. Williams.
"I can't imagine a better first port visit," said Fire Controlman 3rd Class Pete J. Peterson, a Sailor aboard the destroyer. "We took tours of the Coliseum, Vatican City and wandered around Rome."
"The detail and magnitude of the monuments and ruins were eye-opening," said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 3rd Class Carolyn L. Wilson. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, no one would ever believe I was here.'"
Sailors also attended tours arranged by the James E. Williams' Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) committee, and were able to visit a winery and take guided tours of Rome.
"I was able to tour a winery," said Engineman 2nd Class Chad A. Hansen. "We explored an underground wine cellar, [received] a crash-course in the production of wine, and were given wine pairings with our appetizers and main course."
Through tours, sight-seeing, and local interaction, the crew played an important role in representing the U.S. Navy, said Cramer.
"The crew has worked hard and proved they are a solid group of professionals and ambassadors of our country," said Cramer. "It was an amazing and exiting place for the crew to enjoy their first liberty port at the start of a promising deployment."
James E. Williams conducted this port visit as part of a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
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