Sailors man the rails as the amphibious assault ship
USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) pulls into Port Everglades
, for Fleet Week South
2007. Fleet Week celebrates the U.S. Navy through Community Relations Projects and tours of the various ships. U.S. Navy photo
by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick Gearhiser
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tristan Miller, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs
More than 1,000 Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) arrived April 30 for Fleet Week South 2007.
Kearsarge, along with six other ships, is visiting Fort Lauderdale for the annual celebration of the U.S. Navy and the service it provides.
The South Florida community welcomed the Kearsarge with open arms. Welcoming activities included a party at the Seminole Paradise entertainment district, where the ship’s crew was treated to free food and beverages.
Fleet Week allows Sailors to show their character and the quality of Kearsarge’s, equipment, technology and capabilities. Throughout the week, Kearsarge will offer special tours to civic and social organizations, and school groups, giving them a chance to interact with crew members and learn about the Navy
Tina Massa, the Afloat Recreation specialist for Kearsarge, said there are several activities open to Kearsarge Sailors including softball, basketball and golf tournaments, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing.
“I have been working with the Mayport MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center) and the Southeast Region MWR in addition to communicating with the other ships,” Massa said.
Some of the other events scheduled to take place during Fleet Week South are the damage control olympics, swamp boat trips and various ships’ tours.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Massa added. “I think it is going to be a good week and a lot of fun. There are endless opportunities for Sailors to go out and have fun and possibly participate in something new and exciting.”
During their visit, Kearsarge Sailors and Marines will participate in several community relations projects such as Habitat for Humanity, as well as visiting the local schools and hospitals.
“We do many types of different projects,” said Lt. Michael Q. O’Bannon, ship's chaplain. “We volunteer for anything in the local community where we can make an improvement. And in doing so in Fort Lauderdale, we give back to the communities that so willingly spoil us during our weeklong visit to their wonderful city.”
O’Bannon added Kearsarge Sailors will participate in 10 community relations projects while in Florida.
The visits to the hospitals and elementary schools will give the Sailors the opportunity to share a little of what life at sea is like and possibly help brighten the day of a student or patient.
“As the city of Fort Lauderdale opens its door to nearly 2,000 Sailors, we can show our appreciation by giving back to the community,” said O’Bannon.