Navy Ships Host First Responders to Special Tours

Story Number: NNS030603-11Release Date: 6/3/2003 8:09:00 PM
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By Airman Christine Lessard, Navy Region Northeast

NEW YORK (NNS) -- The Navy took time May 24-25, to show appreciation for the service of New York's policemen, firemen, and emergency workers who would be the first line of defense against any tragedy in the city. Private tours were provided to the first responders and their families from as thanks for their service to the city and country.

With upwards of 150,000 people expected to tour the 18 vessels during Fleet Week, this VIP treatment was appreciated by the city's finest. Police Officer Chris Gloeckner of Queens Worth Task Force, an aircraft and ship buff, said while touring USS Shreveport (LPD 12), "I love this stuff. I'm an armchair admiral, and I watch the History and Discovery channels all the time. So it's nice to have less crowded tours and not have to wait in long lines."

The tours detailed many of the ships capabilities, including an explanation of the weapons, refueling, damage control and aircraft systems. Sailors always enjoy talking about their ships, and Operations Specialist 3rd Class Michael Roberts stationed on Shreveport was no exception. "Giving the tours to these guys was fun, and I'm proud to be escorting the people who responded to Sept. 11," he said.

Military personnel and the police, fire and emergency workers all face a very real danger in the performance of their jobs. Gloeckner feels that creates a connection between the organizations.

"We are all on the same team, the police fighting terrorism with homeland security and the military abroad," he said. "So the military and police department have a definite bonding."

Along with Shreveport, other ships providing tours over the weekend were USS Steven W. Groves (FFG 29), USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USS Boone (FFG 28), USS Normandy (CG 60) and USS Oak Hill (LSD 51).

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