Foreign port is friendly sight for Royal Navy sailor on US warship

USS Winston S Churchill'. Picture: Maureen Coles

USS Winston S Churchill'. Picture: Maureen Coles

Portsmouth College. Picture Credit: Keith Woodland. PPP-161031-100119001

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SHE’s a great ship named after a great man.

And sailors on board the USS Winston S Churchill are enjoying their time in Portsmouth just as much as their carrier-dwelling colleagues.

The American destroyer accompanied the USS Theodore Roosevelt into port earlier this week and was sailed in by a member of her crew who is a little more familiar with our shores than most.

Lieutenant Lynsey Sewell, 27, is a Royal Navy officer who serves on board as the navigator.

Churchill is unique in that she is the only US Navy vessel to have a Royal Navy officer permanently assigned to the ship’s company as well as flying a foreign nation’s ensign.

‘It has been an incredible experience to serve on board the USS Winston S Churchill,’ said Lt Sewell.

‘It has been hard work but a fantastic opportunity.

‘It has been very interesting to learn about the American way of working.

‘Everybody has been so welcoming and so helpful.

‘Being able to bring such a fantastic ship into Portsmouth on a sunny day was an experience I will not forget.’

Lt Sewell, the ninth Royal Navy officer to take up the post on board Churchill, has five months left of her exchange to go.

Meanwhile, her colleagues on board the US Navy ship say they have been enjoying the hospitality Portsmouth offered during their stay.

Lieutenant (junior grade) Latoya Phillips, 25, of Hempstead, New York, said: ‘It has been very fun. There is a lot of history here.

‘I have really enjoyed the chance to do some sight-seeing.

‘The highlight of my time here was being able to have dinner with Winston Churchill’s great-great-grandson.’

Chief Petty Officer (operations specialist) Louis Orris, 32, from Pennsylvania, added: ‘I’m really happy and excited about being here and being able to talk to local people and show them how we do things.’

CPO Orris said the highlight of his time in the UK was helping re-enlist one of his colleagues, Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Francis.

For US Navy sailors, re-enlistment means making a personal commitment in public and is a significant event in the life of a serviceman – so they did it in style in front of the gates of Buckingham Palace.

‘I was really happy that he asked me,’ added CPO Orris.

‘We realised there were lots of people suddenly watching as they realised something big was happening.’

USS Winston S Churchill and USS Theodore Roosevelt both leave Portsmouth today.

The carrier leaves at 1pm.

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