MOBILE, Ala. (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) departed Navy Week Mobile, March 1, after a five-day port visit to Mobile, Alabama.
Upon her arrival, Mitscher's crew promptly received a warm welcome from Mobile's Mayor, Sandy Stimpson, and local officials. Cmdr. Brett Oster, Mitscher's commanding officer, received a key to the city of Mobile as part of the welcoming ceremony.
"Mobile has been unbelievable in their reception of Mitscher, her crew, and the rest of the Navy," said Oster. "The warmth, gratitude, and thanks that have been shown to each 'Mitscherman' truly show the fabric of what makes Mobile great. I know each Sailor will cherish these memories of Mardi Gras, and we certainly hope that Mobile knows how much we appreciate the support."
During Mitscher's visit to Navy Week Mobile, over 50 crew members participated in parades spanning the entire downtown area of Mobile.
"For many of my young Sailors, their participation in a parade at Mardi Gras will be among their first experiences outside of homeport," said Mitscher Command Master Chief Jerry Hagdorn. "I'm thankful to the city of Mobile for making that happen in such an overwhelmingly positive way."
More than a dozen of Mitscher's crew members volunteered at the Feed the Gulf Coast food bank. Feed the Gulf Coast helps provide food to underprivileged children and families around the Gulf Coast region.
"I think it is very important for us to give back to the community in any way that we can," said Electronics Technician 1st Class Jason Mathis, "especially after the way Mobile rolled out the red carpet for our ship and crew this week."
Sailors from Mitscher also attended numerous receptions as part of Mobile Navy Week and Mardi Gras celebrations. In addition to all the Mobile Navy Week events, Mitscher hosted more than 3,000 of Mobile's residents aboard for shipboard tours.
Sailors were interacting with tens of thousands of locals over the course of the entire Navy Week and Mardi Gras celebration.
Because of the Navy Office of Community Outreach's Navy Week, the people from Mobile could spend time with the men and women of the Navy and share their appreciation to the Sailors who they may never have had a chance to meet.
"No other port that I've been to has shown this much appreciation towards the military," said Yeoman Seaman Jefferson Hulse. "We are extremely honored to attend Navy Week during this time-honored tradition of Mardi Gras. The southern hospitality of the people from Mobile is unlike anything I have ever experienced."
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