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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Tour Destroyer

Buccaneers Ryan Nece, Shelton Quarles, Dewayne White and Ellis Wyms got an inside look at the workings of a Navy ship when the USS Carney visited the Bay area this week


DT Ellis Wyms and his teammates were granted access to all areas of the imposing Naval destroyer

On Tuesday, several Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a taste of life on the open sea when they visited the USS Carney as part of "Navy Week."

a Naval destroyer in town as part of Navy Week.

The USS Carney is a Naval destroyer nicknamed "505 Feet of American Fighting Steel." It has completed deployments to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, and it's visiting the Bay area this week as part of an outreach tour.

In 2002, the Carney completed a deployment in the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Based in Mayport, FL, the ship has a crew of 315 enlisted sailors and 26 officers, all of whom seem thrilled to welcome their special guests on board Tuesday.

Linebackers Ryan Nece and Shelton Quarles, defensive end Dewayne White and defensive tackle Ellis Wyms visited the destroyer, along with Buccaneer Cheerleaders Nichole Creadon, DeShay Eurice, Juneanne Nguyen and Lori Rumberg. They were given an extensive tour during which they learned about the ship's capabilities and the weaponry on board.

Commander Pat Shea, captain of the USS Carney, warmly welcomed the Buccaneers to his vessel.

"This kind of outreach program is absolutely essential to the morale and the connection that exists between our sailors and the citizens," Shea said, presenting each of the players and cheerleaders with a certificate proclaiming them Official Carneyman. Each visitor was also given a photograph of the ship proudly slicing through open water.

The tour began on the AFT VLS deck, the site from which torpedoes and tomahawk and harpoon missiles can be launched. The deck also boasts an extra large machine gun that can create a wall of lead, firing off 4,500 rounds per minute. The Bucs' tour guide also pointed out one additional feature on the deck, a small but important dish nestled among the weapons. That would be the DirectTV satellite that provides most of the sailors' entertainment on board the ship.

The next stop on the tour was the Pilot House, or the cabin from which the ship is driven. It's all business in this part of the ship, where every movement of the massive vessel is controlled by wheels, levers, buttons and control panels. Most often, it's the youngest members of the ship's crew who guide the Carney while their training officers supervise.

The gadgets in the Pilot House paled, however, in comparison with the technical components of the Combat Information Center. Like something out of the movies, this area included large screens with radar capabilities and controls that can launch any of the weapons on board. Again, it's usually the youngest crew members who man this part of the ship during drills that are designed to prepare the sailors for combat situations.

The Buccaneers were amazed to hear about the intricate details of the ship's operation in times of both peace and combat. Quarles was surprised to learn that the ship's daily operations are usually performed by the crew's youngest members, but he was able to draw a suitable analogy to his own line of work.

"They say it's the young guys that run the ship, (and they are) the ones that shoot missiles and all those things," Quarles said. "It's weird to say that the young guys are the ones doing all the work and the older guys are the ones who are standing back. It's kind of like rookie hazing."

The tour concluded in the Mess Deck where the Buccaneer players and cheerleaders spent some time greeting sailors and signing autographs for the crew before bidding them bon voyage.

"I'm a big fan of the military and the sacrifices they make for us," Nece said. "One of the things I love about my job is it gives us perks like this, where we're be able to come on board to meet some great people and see an awesome ship."

As for the USS Carney, it will leave the Port of Tampa on Friday and head back to Mayport to await orders on its next mission.

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