VISITS to typical British pub, ‘soccer matches’ and historic attractions like HMS Victory are at the top of the agenda for thousands of US sailors visiting Portsmouth from their aircraft carrier.
The Nimitz-class carrier USS Harry S Truman has moored in the Solent near to Portsmouth Naval Base for the weekend allowing its 5,000-strong crew some time to rest and visit the area.
After the ship arrived this morning, queues of hundreds of sailors built up in the hangar as they waited for ferries to take them ashore.
Once on land, the sailors were met by staff from local nightclubs handing out flyers hoping to attract the young crew members into their establishments later on.
Commander Kent ‘Brewski’ Smith, the ship's navigator, said he was looking forward to seeing a football match.
He said: ‘What I miss most right now is college football, I love college football.
‘European football, I was hoping to catch a game, I heard Arsenal was playing in the next couple of days, hopefully I will get to do that, and working on my soccer cheers.’
Commander Ken Froberg, air boss – who is in charge of flight operations on board, – said: ‘Many of the sailors I have been speaking with over the last several weeks have never been to the United Kingdom, so the opportunity to see England and experience England, its history and its rich culture first hand is a powerful memory for us all.
‘Many of our sailors are talking about and seeing a legitimate English pub but many of our sailors are looking forward to seeing the history and one of the things we were talking about was Lord Nelson's HMS Victory and it seems Portsmouth's naval history is something that resonates with myself.’
Captain Nicholas Dienna, the carrier's commanding officer, said that Stonehenge and HMS Victory were among the top attractions for his crew.
He said: ‘From the bottom of the hearts of 5,000 men and women embarked in or assigned to USS Harry S Truman, I would like to say thank you to the people of the UK and the people of the city of Portsmouth for allowing us to spend some well-deserved time to rest in this wonderful city.
‘We have been at sea for over a month, we have been working hard, we have been operating to our maximum capacity and we are very much looking forward to a few days sampling your cuisine, seeing the sights and history of this part of the world and retouching with the roots of both of our navies.’