Touring the USS Gravely

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Today was perfect weather to tour the USS Gravely (DDG 107), docked at the Port of Wilmington until Monday, November 22. If you don’t have a ticket, you’re out of luck.

More than 1,500 people have already gotten a free tour of the 510-foot guided-missile destroyer. Tours last through Thursday, but unless you already have a ticket you’re not going to be able to get one.

“It’s a magnificent ship,” said Wilbur Brown as he got off the ship. “I’ve never seen anything like it. This is state-of-the-art.”

Brown got to tour the USS Gravely, technically called the PCU or Pre-Commissioning Unit until it’s brought to life this weekend.

“It was excellent because I was worried about getting tickets for it due to the experience with the submarine, but this was no problem at all,” Brown said. “I went onto the computer and printed them out.”

But he was one of the last. Tours are already booked up. Those who got to go, were impressed.

“Everything was wonderful,” Katherine Koehler said. “They showed you all the equipment and knew exactly what they were doing. So the information they gave was very interesting.”

On the bow is a five-inch, 62-caliber gun, the largest gun in the active US Navy. Each round weighs 72 pounds. Six flags on the ship represent the DDG 107.

Koehler’s son is in the Navy. He’s on the USS Barry out of Norfolk.

“There’s a very big difference,” Koehler said. “His is one of the oldest in the fleet, so it doesn’t have all of the new things that they have on here.”

The Gravely, however, is the most modern ship in the fleet and equipped with the newest technology.

“With the radar that we have, it gives us the ability to search, track, detect, and catch anything that’s out there,” Fire Controlman First Class Victor Guzman said.

That should provide people with some comfort when the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer officially becomes a US Navy warship Saturday morning.

“With us being able to watch and see what’s out there, we’re pretty much able to defend the nation and the ship,” Guzman said.

The USS Gravely will be commissioned Saturday starting at 11 a.m. The deck will be full of sailors and thousands of family and friends. If you don’t have a ticket, you can watch it on WWAY NewsChannel 3.

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