BOSTON (NNS) -- With open arms, Boston welcomed USS Nitze (DDG 94) during its visit to the historic port city June 2-5.
The visit was a New England homecoming for the ship, built at Bath Iron Works in Maine and named after the late Secretary of the Navy Paul Nitze, himself a Massachusetts native and Harvard University graduate.
"The hospitality in Boston was absolutely fantastic," said Commanding Officer Michael Hegarty. "I've been talking with members of the crew, and this is by far one of their favorite ports. Of course, it doesn't hurt that we have a lot of folks from the New England area, including a lot of Red Sox fans."
Another reason for Boston's popularity among the crew was the rich history in the city where the Revolutionary War started. One of the highlights of the port visit for history buffs aboard Nitze was a trip to Charlestown Navy Yard. There, Hegarty promoted four officers and pinned surface warfare officer qualification pins on six others during a ceremony aboard the Navy's historic fighting ship, USS Constitution.
"The entire wardroom was there," said Hegarty. "The connection was powerful. It was a high point for all of us. It felt like our roots were there on that 208-year-old warship."
The ship's crew bridged another connection to history, performing community service at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans in downtown Boston. Nearly 20 Sailors served lunch to the veterans, reestablishing the connection they feel with the military and letting them know they are not forgotten.
"Oftentimes, we hear that young people today have no sense of values or commitment," said Hegarty. "Well, I'm here to tell you that they're all flat wrong. It's just not true. It amazes me when we ask for about 10 volunteers and we always get 20 or 30."
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