WINDSOR, Ontario(NNS) – Littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) traveled across the Detroit River for the ship’s inaugural port visit and received a warm welcome from the city of Windsor, Ontario, Oct. 24.
The port visit is historic in that it marks the first time a United States warship has chosen a Canadian city to host its first port visit.
During a welcoming ceremony hosted by the City of Windsor, Detroit’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Michael P. Desmond, expressed how honored he and crew were to have Windsor as their first port call.
“This is a historic day,” said Desmond. “It’s a continuation of a fantastic international relationship. I’ve never pulled into a Canadian port on board any of the ships in which I have served and very few of my shipmates had either, so this is a historic day for us personally as well as for our countries, for our navies, and for the cities.”
Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Cmdr. Dan Manu-Popa served as master of ceremonies for more than 300 guests which included members of the RCN as well as the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment and World War II veterans. A ceremonial drum performance kicked off the event followed by the singing of both countries national anthems by Canadian singer Erin Armstrong.
Though not in attendance, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens commemorated the event by writing a personal message to the ship’s crew.
“The City of Windsor is honored to welcome the USS Detroit to Canada,” wrote Dilkens. “I am very proud of the many ways the City of Windsor partners with the city of Detroit to showcase our unique “two-nation destination” to residents and visitors in each of our communities. This visit from the USS Detroit, and similar events, are shining examples of how lucky we are to be neighbors, and of what is possible when we join forces. We look forward to hosting the USS Detroit and her crew for this truly historic visit.”
Lt. Cmdr. Robert Head, RCN, presented Desmond with a key to the city; an artist’s rendering of HMS Detroit, which later became the first USS Detroit; and a special poem written by The City of Windsor’s first Poet Laureate, Marty Gervais, titled “They Sing to the Sky.”
Gervais read his poem to the crowd which concluded with, “I hear them sing sea shanties on long summer days. Simple barges and dinghies and staysail schooners. They sing for the moon in its flight to deny. The sing till the sea melts into the sky.”
Desmond thanked the city of Windsor for hosting the ceremony and welcomed members of the mayor’s office aboard Detroit for a tour.
“All the hard work that you all have put into setting this up and ensuring we had a warm welcome is so much appreciated. This is a fantastic city. A fantastic country. I have a special place in my heart for Canada,” said Desmond.
Detroit will also stop in Montreal before completing the ship's maiden voyage to its new homeport in Mayport, Fla.