Navy to be in Port Angeles for Fourth of July

Sailors to offer tours of destroyer

PORT ANGELES — The Navy will be in Port Angeles for the Fourth of July.

A Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and its 350 sailors on board will dock at the Port of Port Angeles’ Terminal 3 pier off North Cedar Street on Monday to provide Fourth of July tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Shifts, each about 150, of the 350 sailors on board will be wandering around Port Angeles on the Fourth, said Caleb McMahon, Port of Port Angeles director of economic development, on Tuesday.

“They will be taking part in all kinds of activities, apple pie contests, cornhole contests, baseball games,” McMahon said. “It’s going to be great.

“We have one sailor who wants to do his reenlistment ceremony at a Lefties game,” he added.

The sailors also will participate in the city’s 6 p.m. Fourth of July parade through downtown Port Angeles with a contingent of the Navy Northwest Band.

“It will be very clear that the Navy is in town,” said Marc Abshire, Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce director, on Wednesday.

The prospect of the Navy destroyer coming to Port Angeles has kept city, port and chamber of commerce personnel busy.

“This has been something that we have been working on,” McMahon said Tuesday.

“I would guess the first notification we got that was going to happen was three or four months ago. The (Navy) came and said that this could be happening, but it wasn’t confirmed until about two weeks ago,” he added.

The ship, which is slightly more than 500 feet long, will pull into the Port of Port Angeles on Monday and begin offering free tours to the public at 10 a.m. on the Fourth of July, continuing until 4 p.m.

“There are Type I and Type II Arleigh Burke Destroyers. The one coming in is a Type II and those have a helicopter hangar and they will have an embarked MH-60R on board,” said John Picker, Port Angeles marina manager.

Picker also said that, down on the pier, there will be an MH-60S Search and Rescue helicopter from Whidbey Island giving visitors an opportunity to view that vehicle.

Additionally, an F/A-18 Hornet from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island will conduct a flyover at about noon Tuesday.

“We wanted to have a flyover to kick off, but they (Whidbey Island) have other commitments they need to fulfill,” Abshire said.

McMahon said staging for the Fourth of July parade in Port Angeles will be a bit different this year since the Navy will be in town.

“In the past, we have staged it on port property over by the wharf, but as you can imagine, with this Navy destroyer coming in, they have some pretty high-level security requirements, so our crowd control is going to have to block off entrances at key spots, and those spots would be exactly where would normally stage the parade,” McMahon said.

The new staging location for the parade will be at the intersection of Second and Valley streets.

“We’ve let all the parade entrants know to come down Valley Street where it intersects with Second, check in, and then we will put them in line going south on Valley Street,” Abshire said.

The City of Port Angeles will begin to close off the streets at 5:30 p.m. and the parade will begin at 6 p.m.

“The key for the public is that the parade is actually going to go in the opposite direction from previous years,” Abshire said.

This year the parade will come off Valley Street, turn right on First Street, turn left on Laurel Street down to the Black Ball Ferry terminal, turn left on Railroad Avenue, left on Oak Street, and then right on Front Street out to Marine Drive.

Abshire commented on the significance of the Navy returning to Port Angeles on a patriotic holiday.

“The U.S. Navy has a long history and relationship with Port Angeles, going back to the last century,” Abshire said.

The Navy’s Pacific Fleet flagship anchored in Port Angeles Harbor in 1895, beginning a tradition of annual Navy visits until the 1930s, according to

“It’s been a long time since the U.S. Navy has visited Port Angeles proper — so getting sailors in large numbers walking around town is something we haven’t seen for many years,” Ashire said.

“It’s exciting to have this happen and to have this happen during a patriotic holiday like the Fourth of July is amazing.”


Reporter Ken Park can be reached at

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