by Nicole Reitz
Fulton resident Michael McManus had the unique opportunity recently to sail on a special cruise that allowed him to spend time with his son, Mike, a Fire Controlman First Class with the Navy.
McManus’ son has been deployed overseas for the last eight months aboard the USS James E. Williams, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. The ship had been operating in the Mediterranean Sea and the USS James E. Williams was responsible for patrolling the coast of Somalia.
McManus was asked to join his son on a Tiger Cruise, an experience to see sailors and shipmates at work. McManus left for Norfolk, Va. after Hurricane Sandy. From there, he caught a bus with other military families to the naval station in Mayport, Fla.
McManus boarded the USS James E. Williams and remained on the ship through the final leg of the ship’s deployment.
For two days, McManus experienced life onboard his son’s ship, eating in the mess hall, sleeping in bunks and exploring the vessel.
In addition to visiting with their loved ones, families were treated to an air show 20 miles from the naval station in Mayport as well as weapons demonstrations.
McManus also witnessed the ship being replenished with diesel fuel. A smaller vessel pulled up alongside the USS James E. Williams and another destroyer and refueled the ships simultaneously.
The whole time the boats were out to sea, rocking up and down, left to right,” said McManus.
During the destroyer’s deployment, the Williams performed 37 of these replenishments at sea, traveling more than 60,000 nautical miles.
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