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Leaders to Sea USS Gary FFG-51 
POC: ENS Jake Erickson, USS GARY Public Affairs Officer 
San Diego, CA – Mar 26th, 2012 -USS Gary (FFG 51) successfully completed Leaders to Sea, hosting 7 San Diego area leaders from both the public and private sector. San Diego Community Leaders spent a day at sea aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry Class Frigate homeported in San Diego, CA. The distinguished guests flew from Naval Air Station North Island to the GARY, underway in the Southern California Operations Area.

Leaders to sea provides an opportunity for influential community members, business executives, political leaders, media executives and other centers of influence to experience life at sea first hand on surface ships.

The group was welcomed to the ship by the Commanding Officer, CDR Chris Budde of St. Louis, Missouri. They were then given a safety brief by the Operations Officer, LT Ted Huebner. Each group received a tour of the ship, where they were able to see the various watchstations, from the bridge, to Combat Information Center, and the Central Control Station, where the engineering plant is monitored and controlled. Wherever possible, the groups were integrated into the daily routine of the ship, which for GARY, deep into the Basic Training Cycle, preparing for the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, and deployment later this year, included many training evolutions. During a tour of Repair Locker Five Damage Controlman Second Class Petty Officer Beau Davis explained various techniques to detect and protect the ship and personnel from a fire, flooding, chemical or biological attack. The group took time to meet GARY’s sailors to hear their stories about where they were from and their reasons for joining the Navy. They were quite impressed by the professionalism and level of responsibility the young sailors have taken. They were especially impressed with BM3 (SW) Joshua Pelletier, from Boston, Massachusetts. BM3 Pelletier is one of the most experienced Sailors on the deckplates. He is qualified as POIC (Petty Officer in Charge) for boat davit operations, Landing Signalman Enlisted and Master Helmsman.

The visitors all had great things to say about their visit. They spoke often of their appreciation of the sacrifices made by the crew, who are often separated from their families on deployments and even for entire tours. The guests were very impressed at the crews ability to live for months on end together in such small quarters and modest sized beds. Each visitor left GARY with a souvenir ballcap, photo of GARY, and of course, memories of their day at sea.

This was the third time Leaders to Sea has been hosted by GARY, who has a strong history of positive public relations activities. “Any opportunity to allow our citizens the ability to see first hand how their military serves them is always a welcome opportunity that GARY and her crew will gladly take!” says LCDR James “Slim” Pickens, GARY’s Executive Officer.
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