This weekend Mobile will not have one, but two navy warships docked in Mobile Bay. The USS Fort McHenry an active navy vessel pulled in Thursday afternoon. The Navy vessel has been all over the world, and has now finally made her first trip to Mobile.
“I’m so proud to see them standing at attention, and representing the United States,” said Jan Hayford, mother of an Azalea Trail Maid greeting the service members.
“It’s really neat to see something like this in person,” said Ashley Holley, Mobile.
“Just makes me feel good, makes me feel good to be an American,” said Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson.
The 610 feet long ship carrying 350 sailors and 100 marines has just recently returned from the Persian Gulf. And one of the people who couldn’t be happier to see her is Richard Landolt. “When I found out she was coming back in July and moving to Mayport Florida I made a few phone calls and tried to get her here for Ten Sixty-five weekend,” said Landolt, the ship’s former commander.
Now retired from the Navy, Landolt now works for the City of Mobile, but seeing the ship brought back memories. “I had an incredible crew who went all over Asian, and probably saw a half a dozen countries and participated in a lot of exercises.” Since then, the ship has been on many assignments.
“Our mission is to be at sea, protecting the sea lines of communication, counter terroism in the ocean, making sure there’s no piracy all of the industry and all of the commerce comes in and out of our wonderful cities is able to get to the places around the world,” said USS Fort McHenry Commander Thomas Ulmer.
But this Thursday the mission was for the crew to have a good time in the birthplace of Mardi Gras. “Celebration and revelry will dominate all of the ship’s plans for the day and their stay in Mobile,” declared Mayor Stimpson as a part of his ceremonial proclamation.
“It’s amazing to come down here and see all the people from the same places that we come from,” said Nicholas Anderson, Lacy’s Spring, AL.
Fellow sailor Jeremy Davison say having fun will be easy. “Watch football and eat shrimp poboys,” said Jeremy Davison, Dothan Alabama.
The ship will be here through Sunday and visitors are welcomed.