Drug War ship featured at Fleet Week

Drug War ship featured at Fleet Week

Credit: NBC TV

Drug War ship featured at Fleet Week

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by Wayne Havrelly, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on June 10, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 10 at 4:31 PM

PORTLAND -- Guided tours of U.S. and Canadian naval vessels were popular features at the Rose Festival and one of those ships, the U.S.S. McClusky, recently specialized in counter narcotics off the Colombian coast of South America.

More: Rose Festival Event Guide

"On our last mission we seized or disrupted more than 11 metric tons of cocaine," said U.S. Navy Ensign Alejandro Muela.

Much of the cocaine came from sophisticated drug-running vessels that routinely smuggled drugs from Columbia to Mexico. And most of it usually ends up in the U.S.

"The drug running vessels are hard to spot and are called semi-submersible ships and barely sit above the water line," said Muela.

Video: Sky 8 over Fleet Week ships

Several navy veterans toured the U.S.S. McClusky Friday. Bud Weigand, 87, of Hillsboro, survived two Kamikaze plane attacks on board the U.S.S. Haggard in WWII.

"We lost 14 men below deck and one above, then the second plane struck," said Weigand. He survived by helping secure a leaking bulkhead, which kept the destroyer from sinking.

When asked how the new Navy vessels at the Rose Festival compare to the old U.S.S. Haggard, he said with a smile, "There's no comparison."

Weigand has visited Fleet Week at the Rose Festival nearly every year since WWII. Several times he actually had the honor of riding on Navy ships from San Diego to Portland.

Official Rose Festival website

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