WELL HELLO, SAILOR!
Navy crew in town
News source: Sunshine Coast Daily, Wednesday 25 January 2006
By Rebecca Marshall
FIVE hundred United States Navy crew members from the USS Ronald Reagan have descended on the Sunshine Coast and they are expected to inject as much as half a million dollars into the local economy.
The massive 344-metre long aircraft carrier docked in Brisbane on Monday afternoon and some of its 6000 crew have been granted shore leave until it sets sail from Australia on Friday.
Some sailors have it the nightclub strips at the Gold Coast and Brisbane , while others have opted for a more “wholesome” cultural experience here on our Coast.
A group of 65 officers traded their crisp uniform whites for casual civvies as they were put to work painting and planting at the Australian Wildlife Hospital , part of Australia Zoo.
And once the hard work was done, it was time to visit some of the Zoo's most famous residents.
“It was absolutely phenomenal,” parachute rigger Jeffrey De Groot said after getting up close and personal with a koala.
“It's a pleasure to come out and do things like this. I'd rather do something like this than go into town and have a few drinks. The climate and the accent are the big differences, sometimes you are a bit hard to understand.”
The USS Ronald Reagan is expected to leave Brisbane at about 2pm on Friday and will be off the coast of Caloundra by late afternoon.