Four U.S. Ships Participate in 2007 Portland Rose Festival

Monday, June 11, 2007
A Portland fireboat greets the guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) with red white and blue water streams as she passes under the Willamette River's Steel Bridge. Vandegrift is one of four U.S. Navy ships visiting Portland for the weeklong 100th Annual Rose Festival celebration. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Thomas Brennan

Four U.S. Navy ships will participate in the Fleet Week festivities June 7 - 10 during the 100th annual Portland Rose Festival. The guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) led the way as the guided-missile frigate USS Vandergrift (FFG 48), the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and the guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) followed behind.

For many young Sailors, port visits are very rare and exciting. “I have never been here before, and I think it is great that the Navy gives us an opportunity to travel,” said Seamen Edward Maldonado from Bunker Hill Deck Department. “I love having the chance to see new places, meet people, and get a break from work.”

Maldonado added he enjoys port visits to learn more about the culture and be able to go sightseeing in a new town. The festival's purpose is to pay an unprecedented tribute to Portland's history, the military’s presence, culture and community to reinvigorate past traditions and create new customs to endure each year.

The visit also allowed some of the ship's Sailors to visit home and reunite with their friends and family members. “I have friends on the USS Mobile Bay and it is a great to be able to reunite again,” said Electricians Mate 2nd Class (SW) Joseph Collens assigned to Naval Recruit District. “It is nice to see old friends again and be able to celebrate Portland’s tradition.” Collens said the Rose Festival is a way the community shows military appreciation for their service. “It is nice to see the community and military integrate,” said Collens. “It is not a big military town so when the ships come out it is a big deal.”

As part of the kick-off for Portland’s Rose Festival, through out the week, Sailors are given a chance to enjoy premier events of the festival such as the Centennial Grand Floral Parade which features all-floral floats, live music, food, entertainment, marching bands. All four U.S. Navy ships joined the Coast Guard and four Canadian Maritime Armed Forces ships as part of the celebration at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park's esplanade seawall. The fleet ship tours will be open to the public during four day visit.

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Maebel Tinoko, Fleet Public Affairs Northwest

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