Locals and visitors took a tour of a new combat ship that sailed into the Charleston harbor this week. One retired sailor says the U.S.S. Freedom shows progression.
Joe Sacca retired from the Navy in 1972 after 20 years of service. Tuesday he took a tour of the new U.S.S. Freedom, and he got a firsthand view of ship, including the windy helicopter pad.
“Oh, it’s amazing, it’s wonderful. It tells me that the Navy is progressing, it’s getting better. I just wish I was back in,” says Sacca.
The 377-foot long vessel made a stop in Charleston this week while testing its capabilities in open water. Executive Officer Randy Garner says what the combat ship is meant to do:
“This ship is well designed to do some very specific things that would help us with anti-piracy. 3,000 ton warship which can go 45 knotts, a little bit more than that, which is a little over 50 miles per hour, and that’s pretty amazing for a ship this size,” says Garner.
And Freedom signifies the changes the Navy has seen since Sacca was in service.
“When I was in the Navy there was 300 men on the ship, now they tell me 40. So, it’s just compact, everything is compact, it’s nice and neat,” says Sacca.
Other ship visitors thought the vessel was neat too.
“It’s very nice, very interesting,” says Renee Biondolillo.
“I’m kind of taking a tour because I convinced my mom and dad to come here,” says Andrew Shook.
“I’m impressed,” says Alex Bodo.
The Freedom is the first of its class and is designed to engage pirates and other combatants in shallow coastal waters.
U.S.S. Freedom will leave Charleston Thursday.