On board the USS Monterey

By Lynda Figueredo - bioemail

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The USS Monterey, a hi-tech navy warship, is docked at the Georgia Ports. Captain Jim Kilby showed WTOC around the USS Monterey based out of Norfolk, Virginia.

"We are happy to be here and we are looking forward great stay in your city," Capt. Kilby told WTOC.

The crew of more than 250 navy officers and sailors will soon be joining the Brush Strike Group to continue training with other ships before its deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in March.

"We just came out of yards. We had unit level training. It has been tough on the kids. We have been pushing fifth gear and this came at right moment," explained Command Master Chief Keith Mahaffey.

Especially for some of the sailors native to Savannah.

"It's absolutely great to be back home. I wanted to join the navy to see the world. I understand every time I come back why this is home to me," said Lt. J.G. Christian Cleveland.

For the crew of the USS Monterey, Savannah is their first port of call and is a chance for them get some much needed rest and give back to the community.

"Many have never been away from their home town, this is the first time they have been in a port outside their Navy port so they can get the appreciation from a public which obviously from being in Savannah, loves the military," said Capt. Kilby.

During their stay nearly 40 sailors onto shore to shovel dirt and lay brick at the West Broad Street YMCA. They say it is common to volunteer in the areas where they dock. So during their first port of call visit, they did just that.

"This city opened its heart to us and welcomed us with open arms. This is our way of giving back and showing a different face of the Navy," said Command Master Chief Keith Mahaffey.

These are faces and good deeds that will not soon be forgotten, even after the warship leaves port.

The Monterey is not open to the public.

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