by: Chris Legeros Updated:
SEATTLE - There are 1,200 sailors on board the U.S.S. Essex. Many of them were manning the rails for Seafair’s Parade of Ships Wednesday, standing at attention on the flight deck in their bright white uniforms.
For some, cruising into Washington waters was a homecoming.
“As soon as we were coming through the straits, it was just such a beautiful sight, it just made my heart swell,” Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Steiner said.
Steiner went to high school in Bellevue. Machinist's mate Tanielu Roach was born and raised in Seattle.
"It made me feel really happy to be back home,” he said.
Both sailors are proud to be showing off their workplace to friends and relatives in the Puget Sound area.
The Essex is an 844-foot-long amphibious assault ship, capable of carrying 1,800 Marines almost anywhere they want to go.
Helicopters and Harrier jets can fly off the deck. Amphibious attack vehicles and landing craft can launch from what's called the well deck below.
When he's not working this Seafair week, Steiner said he'll be enjoying the mountains. Roach is already getting reacquainted with some of his favorite foods.
“Yesterday I went to Ezell’s Chicken. That was something I was waiting for,” he said.
The Essex will be open for public tours from Thursday through Sunday at Seattle’s Pier 90.
Those tours will be running from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.