USS Shoup
151016-N-KM939-113 SAN DIEGO - Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Steve Whitmire from Coloma, Ill. hauls in a mooring line as the guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) moors at the Broadway pier in downtown San Diego, Oct 16. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Cox/Released)
San Diego Hosts Downtown Ship Tours
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Cox, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) opened its doors to more than 2,000 San Diego residents and tourists while moored at the Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego, Oct. 17-18.

The visit occurred following the Navy's 240th birthday and guests had the opportunity to tour the ship and talk with Sailors.

Ensign Zach Bessette, the ship's public affairs officer and tour coordinator, said that tours like this help to strengthen the bond between the military and the local community, and allow them to recognize an important day in naval history.

"This is a great opportunity to show our local community that they're supporting America's Navy and the hard work these Sailors put in every day," said Bessette. "It's also important that it comes right after the 240th birthday of the Navy, so it really allows us to showcase that even after 240 years what the Navy still continues to do and how important that legacy is, and hopefully it impacts them on a personal level as well."

The tours included the ship's foc'sle, boat deck, galley, bridge and damage control center. Bessette said that a ship of this size usually doesn't host tours when in port, but that this tour will help to educate the community on the capabilities of a guided-missile destroyer.

"To do an event like this, which we don't do often, gives Sailors a rare opportunity to really show off their knowledge and to demonstrate their gear," the ensign added.

The tours started on the flight deck and brought visitors through the hangar bay to the boat deck where the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RIBs) are kept. Visitors then moved on to the foc'sle where they saw missile launchers, crew-served weapons and deck guns. Next was the bridge which houses the navigation equipment, then Damage Control Central to show guests the equipment used to repair and save the ship. The tours came to an end right where they started.

Tim Kemper who attended the tour said that getting the opportunity to view and walk the ship first-hand was an eye opening experience.

"I definitely got to see that you guys are very well-trained and skilled in a lot of complex equipment [and] have a lot of responsibility," Kemper said. "I happen to live here in San Diego, so I've been waiting for an opportunity to see this amazing piece of military hardware and you guys that operate it. I couldn't get over how at the end of the tour the chief thanked us, when we should be thanking you guys for your service. The quality of the Sailors is just fantastic. In our day-to-day lives in San Diego we don't see that very often, so it's great to have the opportunity to interact with you guys."

USS Shoup is homeported in Everett, Washington, and is the 36th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The ship was built to conduct simultaneous warfare operations in multi-threat environments to include air, surface and subsurface targets.

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