Thursday, July 24, 2014

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USS Oak Hill Among "Fleet Week" Ships Offering Tours

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TWC News: USS Oak Hill Among "Fleet Week" Ships Offering Tours
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With "Fleet Week" in full swing, members of the general public are invited to explore several U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships that are docked in both Manhattan and Staten Island. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

The crew of the USS Oak Hill were hard at work Thursday morning getting it ready for visitors. The dock landing ship is one of the U.S. Navy's amphibious vessels.

"We've got a well deck underneath us, we can bring small craft into the well, we drive near a beach as we send the Marines where they need to go," said U.S. Navy Ensign Jordan Taylor.

The Oak Hill is one of five Navy and Coast Guard vessels open for public tours through Memorial Day as part of "Fleet Week" which returned this year after last year's cancellation due to federal budget cuts. The ships are docked on Staten Island and at Pier 92 in Manhattan.

"I'm looking forward to eating pizza, seeing my mom, my dad, just walking to Times Square, being a tourist in New York in my own city," said U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Jose Contreras, an East New York native.

Inside the USS Oak Hill, visitors can get a glimpse of an amphibious assault vehicle and a giant Navy hover craft which also transports Marines.

"We'll go from the ship, hit the shoreline, fly right up on the beach, drop the ramp and let them out," said U.S. Navy Petty Officer James Mercer.

Up on the flight deck is a Marine Corps Osprey, which flies like a plane but takes off and lands like a helicopter.

"We primarily do cargo runs and stuff like that. Pretty much anything we can put in there we can haul it," explained U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Chris Hunt.

USS Oak Hill crew members who spoke with NY1 say they are excited to get out and explore the Big Apple.

"Getting a good slice of pizza maybe on Steinway Street back home and maybe a cup of coffee at a cafe I used to hang out with back in the day," said U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Anthony Costa, an Astoria native.

"Just getting out and seeing some of the sights, maybe going to a Mets game," added USMC Lance Corporal William Lewis.

For more information on ship tours and other "Fleet Week" activities just head to fleetweeknewyork.com.

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