ROCKLAND, MAINE (Aug. 12, 2016) – The streets of Rockland, ME, were busy with residents, visitors and men and women in uniform to celebrate the 69th annual Lobster Festival, Aug. 3-7. The community ate, mingled and enjoyed all the festival activities together down by the Rockland harbor where the USS Oak Hill (LSD-51) could be seen anchored off the shore.
Marines and Sailors attached to Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, went aboard the Oak Hill for Lobster Fest 2016 to participate in the local events and display their expeditionary capabilities to the community.
As their journey north began, a Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) delivered Marine Corps Humvees to the Oak Hill just miles off the coast of Norfolk, VA on Jul. 30. Both the LCAC and the vehicles were used alongside an assortment of weapons in a static display aboard the ship during the festival. Visitors were given the opportunity to tour the ship and learn about the Navy-Marine Corps team, its gear and its expeditionary capabilities.
Cpl. Dereck Andrade, a light armored vehicle crewman, was one of the Marines who introduced the Oak Hill’s visitors to the Marine Corps’ display who felt lucky to find himself in Maine and share his experience.
“The Marine Corps offers endless opportunities nationwide for its Marines, from traveling state-to-state, to exploring different countries by month,” said Andrade. “The grueling training spent for weeks, if not months, in some of the most uncomfortable climates from pouring down rain to freezing cold temperatures, to blistering heat. That is what let me find myself in beautiful Rockland, ME, for Lobster Fest.
Besides the daily ship tours, the Marine Corps detachment participated in the city’s parade with various veteran organizations, lobster-themed floats and other festive contributors.
“The parade was a once in a lifetime event, being able to be the main attraction in front of hundreds of people,” said Andrade. “They went out of their way to welcome us with open arms and we really appreciated it.”
The local Winslow-Holbrook-Merritt American Legion also held events for the Marines and Sailors aboard the ship to enjoy and interact with local community members and veterans.
“Everybody from the smallest children to the veterans who salute you, it makes butterflies run through your body noticing how much they respect you,” said Andrade “It makes you feel blessed to be a Marine.”