Freedom Gold Crew Sailors Participate in Pearl Harbor Remembrance Barge Tour
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jerine Lee, Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Sailors assigned to the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) Gold Crew got a chance to view history and reflect on Navy heritage with a tour of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial during their port visit in Hawaii March 12.

Prior to their departure from the U.S. Pacific Fleet Boathouse, boathouse crew showcased a small museum of memorial models and pictures of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, a documentary video and then embarked Freedom crewmembers on the barge for an exclusive tour.

"We coordinated to have this tour available for the entire crew to give them an opportunity to see the history of our Navy," said Freedom's Gold Crew Command Senior Chief Kenneth Jablecki. "The attack on Pearl Harbor was a defining point in our history, and the tour was extremely amazing and moving."

The two-hour barge tour included a cruise around Ford Island, so they got to see the USS Utah and USS Nevada memorials from the water before visiting the USS Arizona Memorial. The tour was narrated by the Commander, Navy Region Hawaii historian Jim Neuman, who educated Freedom Sailors about the history and aftermath of the attack.

"In my 20 years in the Navy, this was my first time in Hawaii," Jablecki said. "This was a great experience for me and the Freedom Sailors to have the opportunity to see all this."

Information Systems Technician Seaman Leroy Lopez, who was also on his first visit, said the tour was an eye-opening experience, and he enjoyed seeing the memorials.

"It's one thing to learn about the events from the history books and movies, but seeing the memorials opened my eyes," Lopez said. "It was incredible to come on the tour to see the power of the Navy and its history and to know that I am a part of this organization."

Freedom is visiting Pearl Harbor as the first stop on its deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Freedom will remain homeported in San Diego throughout this rotational deployment to the region. The Gold Crew is commanded by Cmdr. Tim Wilke.
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