USS Gettysburg Captain Welcomed Home for Fleet Week

Homecoming for Captain Bill Hein, a Fort Lauderdale native, who commands the USS Gettysburg

Sailors, marines and coast guardsmen showed off the muscle and might of the USS Gettysburg, one of six visiting warships for Fleet Week at Port Everglades on Saturday.

"We love the fact that we can come out here and show the people of Fort Lauderdale what it is we do, what it is they're paying for," said USS Gettysburg Captain Bill Hein.

He led one of Saturday's tours of the guided missile cruiser. It's a homecoming for Captain Bill Hein. He grew up in Fort Lauderdale, and commands the USS Gettysburg.

"You kind of know they're out there but you don't know what they do everyday life, so this will be a good idea as to what they do day to day," said Adam Sampson who toured the ship.

People viewing the ship also saw where the service members ate, and where the captains dined and watched TV.

"It's our own little city, our own city that's fully self-contained that by the way, sails half way across the world to fight this nation's war," said Hein.

For 1,000-plus service members, Fleet Week is a break from duty on the front lines.

"I have a wife, three kids, and being away from them is a challenge not only for me, but for them," said Petty Officer Justin Fonder.

It's a time to reunite with families, give back to the community and relax.

"They look forward to the beautiful weather, the beaches, the hospitality," said Public Affairs Officer Jonathan Blyth.

Sailors say the best part is getting recognition from the citizens of South Florida.

"You go out everyday, but not everyone says thank you for your services, it actually gives you a little big of self-motivation," said Petty Officer Sheldon Swanson.

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