USNS Brunswick Welcoming Ceremony Commemorates Ship's Visit

The future joint high speed vessel USNS Brunswick (JHSV 6) was launched from the Austal USA shipyard, May 18, 2015. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
The future joint high speed vessel USNS Brunswick (JHSV 6) was launched from the Austal USA shipyard, May 18, 2015. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The City of Brunswick and Glynn County held a welcoming ceremony for the USNS Brunswick at Mary Ross Park on Saturday.

"I and the (Brunswick City) commission are honored, thrilled and excited for the city of Brunswick. It's a testament to Brunswick's energy level, it's bringing big things to our city," Mayor Cornell Harvey said.

The captain of the USNS Brunswick, Jason Ivey, expressed his excitement at visiting the ship's namesake.

"I've looked at pictures of the town, I've looked at this dock more times than you can imagine. When we were pulling into the dock, I thought 'I can't believe I'm actually finally here,'" Ivey said.

The Glynn County Delegation, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-1, State Reps. Alex Atwood, R-St. Simons Island, and Jeff Jones, R-St. Simons Island and State Senator William Ligon, R-St. Simons Island, gave remarks during the ceremony.

"The city of Brunswick has deep ties to the Navy and the Merchant Marine, and for that reason it's a great honor to have a ship named after the city," Ligon said.

Carter spoke to what the ship represents.

"Here we have a link between the past of the city of Brunswick and the future. The future of the city of Brunswick and the future of our country. The future of our Navy. This is a great, great memento. A great tribute to a great city, to a great county," Carter said.

Atwood, a former Marine himself, was very impressed and proud of the ship.

"I love the naval forces. I love the Merchant Marine, and it's such a humble privilege to be here today," Atwood said. "The ship is fantastic, and I've been on many ships with the Marine Corps."

Jones was also impressed by the ship.

"It really is a great honor. It's an impressive vessel and to have it named after our city is an honor," Jones said.

Almost everyone that spoke thanked Sheila McNeill, president of the Camden Partnership, at some point for organizing the event. She said that she has been working on getting this set up for the better part of a year.

"The ceremony was particularly well done. It took a lot of moving parts to get all this done for these young men, but the point of the spear was Sheila," Atwood said.

The Georgia State House of Representatives passed a motion to commend McNeill for all of her efforts in setting up the event prior to the ceremony as well. Atwood and Jones presented her with a gift to commemorate the occasion.

Melissa Gooch, a Brunswick native that serves on the USNS Brunswick, also wanted to commend McNeill for her efforts.

"I think Sheila did a good job, and she deserves a lot of credit," Gooch said.

The ship, an Expeditionary Fast Transport named after the city, was subsequently opened for tours and participated in the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony on Sunday.

The ship visited the city it is named after during the two-day Blessing of the Fleet festival, which culminated Sunday with the blessing of the local shrimp boat fleet.

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