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Malibu Pier welcomes US Navy warship

June 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It was a rare sight in Malibu Friday, a Navy warship anchored off the Malibu Pier. It's the first time the city has served as a port of call for a U.S. Navy ship.

The U.S.S. John Paul Jones and nearly 300 sailors on board are enjoying everything Malibu has to offer.

"I'm pretty excited," said Scott Cook, U.S.S. John Paul Jones. "I'm not going to lie. It's all new to me, so I'm happy."

The city is hosting its first annual Malibu Navy Day this weekend as hundreds of sailors hit the shore. They are invited to all kinds of events in the ritzy, star-studded enclave.

"Actually, everybody was pretty excited about it," said Noah Williams, U.S.S. John Paul Jones. "It looked like a good place to go, especially because its close and it gives us a chance to do some of the exercises we wanted to do. So, Malibu was fun."

Based in San Diego, 270 sailors call the U.S.S. John Paul Jones home, 60 of them women. They'll enjoy the weekend in Malibu before leaving port Monday morning.

Area residents were invited to tour the 505-foot long ship. For many, the massive destroyer is an unusual site offshore. Most here are used to seeing surfers, not sailors.

"This is the first time we've ever had a Navy ship off here," said Mayor John Sibert. "The last time there was one anywhere around here was the Ronald Reagan off of Santa Barbara. This is a unique event, so let's all enjoy it."

"When we found out about it we were pretty amazed," said Malibu resident Leslie Godwin. "The Malibu Pier and a destroyer, that didn't really seem to coexist. I have a 6-year-old who is pretty much in awe of what these guys are doing, as am I obviously."

The City Chamber of Commerce and the Malibu Navy League Chapter both helped sponsor the very special port of call this weekend, and the sailors say they really appreciate it.

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