TOULON, France -- Sailors and Marines on board the multipurpose amphibiousassault ship, USS Wasp (LHD 1), are enjoying theirToulon, France port visit. Although Toulon is a working port, Sailors and Marines have an opportunity to experience the French culture and visit its enchanted palaces, forts and bell towers. Wasp's Morale, Welfare and Recreation departmentis offering numerous tours to various sites in and around Toulon,France during the eight day port visit. Sailors and Marines have the opportunity to tour Monaco, the capital of the independent principality which has been in the hands of the Grimaldi familySince 1297. There will also be tours to Monte Carlo, the newsection of Monaco, famous world wide for its casinos, palaces,rich villas, and luxury shops. Sailors and Marines will also havea chance to sample red wines, produced at Chateauneuf du Pape.Additionally, Sailors and Marines are offered a guided tour of thefamous city of Paris and have the night free to experience theParisien night life. Wasp is the lead ship in the newest and mostadvanced class of multipurpose amphibious assault vessels.It is capable of transporting, landing and supporting a marine forceOn shore; and carries more than 2,000 Sailors and Marines and theirvehicles, equipment, weapons, ammunition and supplies.Wasp's 819-foot flight deck allows it to operate all Navy/MarineCorps, joint rotary wing and vertical and short take-off/landing(VSTOL) air craft. In addition, Wasp can launch forces from overthe horizon, in any weather, day or night, and in any emissioncontrol environment. Wasp, commanded by Captain Hugh G. Story, is the flagship for the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (WASP ARG), Which include USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) who will accompany Wasp on this port visit to toulon, and USS Trenton (LPD 14). The WASP ARG is commanded by Captain John A. Read, Commander Amphibious Squadron Eight. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), commanded by Colonel Richard t. Tryon, is also embarked on board. Wasp will remain on station in theMediterranean until July 2000.