NORFOLK, Va. - The Fourth of July is a prime opportunity for the family to see what life is like aboard a real Navy ship.
The USS Monterey is docked at Town Point Park behind Nauticus as part of Norfolk's Great American Picnic, and News 3 photojournalist Dax Gray took us aboard the guided missile cruiser.
“The Monterey is one of the Navy’s cruisers," said Monterey Captain Dave Stoner. "She is 28 years old. She was part of the 22 cruisers that were delivered to the Navy. She just came off deployment two months ago. We have 350 Sailors on board.”
Of the 350 Sailors, about 35 are women. Lt. Marcia Durrett is the senior woman on board.
"Put a ladder responsibility on me to make sure the girls are taken care of because there’s just so few of us compared to men on board," Lt. Durrett said.
The ship's crew took great pride in giving the public free tours for the Independence Day holiday.
“When the public comes on board and their wide-eyed and wanting to know how do we get the fuel on board. How do we get the food at sea and all these things. They are excited about learning how this happens," said Lt. Durrett.
And, of course, the public greatly appreciated it.
“Started wishing that I had been around to be on one of these modern ones when I served, they were a little bit older. In fact, when I was in [the Navy] the Wisconsin was actually still in service," said Raymond Towne of Virginia Beach, who was one of many who enjoyed the tour.
“The Monterey has been around for 28 years. That’s a long time. She looks fantastic for a 28-year-old lady," said Frank Delgado of Suffolk.
“This is my career; it’s also my passion," said Cpt. Stoner. "I do this because I love to do it.”