Ship Talk

Posted on 08. Dec, 2009 by in Uncategorized

Photo Credit: Peggy Truong

Photo Credit: Peggy Truong

By Peggy Truong
While New Yorkers flocked to Pier 88 to tour the Navy’s newest ship in November, the Marines and sailors aboard the USS New York were just as eager to tour Manhattan. Many of them are in the early 20s. When they are pier side, sightseeing and bars are instant luxuries.

For safety, the Marines are restricted to where they can go in the city. No one can leave Manhattan without special permission, said Gunnery Sgt. Bryce Piper, 37. And no one can travel past the mid-90s uptown.

“They have a couple barley pops, come back to ship and get up at six the next morning and start their day all over again,” said Piper, the public affairs chief. While the Marines have worked very hard, he said, they’ve played even harder.

“When they get liberty, they’re getting out and enjoying all that New York has to offer,” said Piper. He said that for many of the young Marines of the USS New York, this event will be the largest public event they’ll be a part of.

“This is my first time in New York,” said Seaman Apprentice John Carlson, 20, in blue camouflage gear. Carlson was one of hundreds of Marines and sailors greeting guests by ship’s public entrance.

“I’m gonna go out and hit some tourist spots, and see what’s up. I don’t really know what’s out there,” he said.

Photo Credit: Peggy Truong

Photo Credit: Peggy Truong

The New York was built with 7.5 tons of steel from the World Trade Center wreckage. The 10-day mission included a commissioning ceremony by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and visits to ground zero and a Marine Corps League on Staten Island.

Pfc. Justin Tullock, 20, said the time he’s had away from the ship has been precious. “A bunch of us want to go to the Statue of Liberty, we want to go sightseeing. But we have limited time. So we just go to the bar or go dancing,” said Tullock, a specialist in field artillery.

He enlisted from his hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, more than a year ago, because he wanted a challenge. “My favorite part is showing the people that we’re here for them. We’re giving back what they gave to us. Showing them that we’re stronger than anybody else. I’m proud to be here,” he said.

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