USS JOHN F. KENNEDY -- Fresh off a recent deployment to Iraq, the Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit sailed into Boston Harbor May 19 aboard the USS John F. Kennedy to begin Fleet Week celebrations.
After arriving to cheers from Bostonians, the leathernecks were treated to a grand welcome.
The Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, in conjunction with other local businesses gave the Marines a reception at Eastport Park, complete with food and beverages from local restaurants and breweries.
For many of the 24th MEU Marines, the first introduction to Boston was an excellent one.
“I’ve never been here before, I thought it was really cool,” said Lance Cpl. Derek E. Brown, a landing support specialist with the MEU Service Support Group 24. “With all the restaurants, you had almost anything you could want.”
Lauri Howe Barret, the communications director for the hotel, said the business, “Just wanted to say ‘Welcome home and thank you’ to everyone from the 24th MEU.”
Jack Lyons, a member of the Semper Fidelis Society, a military support organization, passed out t-shirts to the Marines at the event.
“We appreciate everything they’re doing,” he said. “We just wanted the Marines to know that they’re not forgotten and that they are always in our thoughts and prayers.”
Jack’s brother, Thomas Lyons, a Marine of the Vietnam era and co-founder of the Semper Fidelis Society organized the event.
“Marines take care of Marines,” said Col. Ronald J. Johnson, commanding officer of the 24th MEU. “Cpl. Tommy Lyons took care of us by having this party in the great city of Boston.”
The reception was just the beginning of the port visit in Boston and Fleet Week celebrations later in New York City.