Family, Friends Embark USS Bunker Hill
By Sonar Technician (surface) 3rd Class Stacy Richardson, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
SAN DIEGO - The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) welcomed nearly 180 friends and family members aboard for a friends and family day cruise, Sept. 7.

The crew held its annual one-day excursion to boost morale and give loved ones a chance to experience life aboard a Navy ship first-hand.

"Bunker Hill has had a pretty tough operational schedule over the past two to three years with two deployments over an 18-month stretch," said Capt. Michael J. Ford, commanding officer, USS Bunker Hill. "This gives them a chance to relax a little bit and enjoy the time showing off their ship to friends and family."

Family and friends of the crew were awarded an eye-opening peek at just how their Sailors run the ship and keep it afloat.

"It's my first time on a ship, so I'm looking forward to seeing how things run in the Navy," said Thelma Miller.

After a safety brief, Bunker Hill gave a demonstration of the 25mm MK38 and 5-inch MK45 deck guns, allowing everyone on board to see some of the cruiser's firepower.

"They were able to observe the 25mm gun shoot and allowed to see a smoothly operating sea and anchor detail," said Operations Specialist Seaman Recruit Charles Norvice.

There was a steel beach picnic, a treat that the crew is usually afforded during underway periods. There was also plenty of down time for whale watching.

"I love that I have a chance to give [my girlfriend] the experience of what it is like to be on a ship and out on the ocean," said Engineman 2nd Class Johnny Clemente.

Loved ones traveled from all over the country and from as far as Spain and the State of Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa.

"This is a time when we can be close to each other and they can see exactly what we do," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Faniel Gebray. Gebray's father traveled from Eritrea to participate in the cruise.

"He sees what I do, he is proud of me and it is exciting to know that he is proud of me," said Gerbay.

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