PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – During this Army-Navy weekend, some Naval Academy crafts are docked at Penn’s Landing for you to check out. And, there’s also a larger, Army vessel nearby.
The army has nearly 300 vessels, ranging from tugs to a logistics-support vessel, or L-S-V.
Chief warrant officer four John Stauffer, commander of the General Frank Besson, says many people are surprised to find out the Army takes to the high seas, “Absolutely, we hear it all the time – didn’t know the army has boats.”
It’s a 273-foot long watercraft with a flat bottom, capable of beaching in as little as six feet of water, “it’s a vessel utilized to move equipment to shallow draft or degraded ports. For instance, we deployed to Haiti, back in January.”Sergeant Crystal Lee (photo) is a mechanic on board, from Philadelphia, with family still in the area. She comes home about once a year on leave, but not in this fashion, “it was really weird, pulling up with the vessel, and looking out the window to see my hometown.”
Also docked nearby on Penn’s Landing are five Naval Academy vessels. They’re 108-foot yard patrol craft that are used to provide at-sea training in navigation and seamanship for midshipmen.One of those on board one of five naval academy yard patrol vessels was Lieutenant Tim Fitz-Gerald (photo), who was born and raised in Philadelphia, “I graduated from Northeast Catholic. I went to Temple University, as well.”
He’s now teaching at the Naval Academy, and was training the midshipmen, as they came up the Delaware River, “every time I’ve pulled in here, on the warships or the yard patrol crafts, the city of Philadelphia is always here, handing us pretzels and cheesesteaks.”
The 108-foot long YP’s, as they call them, provide realistic, at-sea training in navigation and seamanship, “it teaches them a lot about ship handling and how to order engines and rudders.”
Reported By Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio.