Arleigh Burke-Class Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Nitze Departs France
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) departed Villefranche, France March 29 after a regularly-scheduled port visit.
During the visit, the crew was able to enjoy some French culture and unwind after a busy Atlantic Ocean transit.
“The culture was amazing,” said Fire Controlman 3rd Class Valerie Goldfarb. “All of the food I ate was delicious. It was great to try things I have never eaten, or even heard of, before.”
“France was great,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Justin Johnson. “It was beautiful, the food was really good and the people were very welcoming.”
Although there was a difference in language, it was still possible to get around and communicate.
“Communication was easy,” said Goldfarb. “I was surprised with the amount of people who spoke English.”
During the port visit, there were several activities arranged by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) committee for the crew to participate in, including a tour of Monaco and the famous Monte Carlo casino as well as a tour of a vineyard in Nice.
“Monaco was incredible,” said Johnson. “I was walking down a street and there was a Ferrari dealership on the corner. That was pretty impressive and I am not sure if I will ever get to see something like that again.”
Some of the Sailors also participated in an event cleaning headstones at the Rhone American Military cemetery in nearby Draguignan, France.
“It is an honor to have these Sailors out here to clean the headstones and pay their respects to the service members who have gone before them,” said Bruce Malone, the superintendant of the cemetery.
The cemetery, where 861 Sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines are buried, is the final resting place for service members killed in the initial invasion of southern France during World War II.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” said Goldfarb. “It means a lot to be able to come here and pay my respects just by helping out for a little while.”
“We heard the stories of a few of the people buried there and it really put into perspective that these are people just like me,” said Johnson. “It really meant a lot.”
During the visit, the ship also hosted tours for the Navy League as well as the mayor of Villefranche.
Overall, the port visit was a huge success.
“Everyone did a great job,” said Senior Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Christopher Lewis. “The crew made Nitze very proud. Everyone enjoyed the port and most importantly, learned something.”
Nitze conducted this port visit as part of a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.
Naval Today Staff , April 03, 2012; Image: navy