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Local Sailors On USS OAK HILL Happy To Be Home For Holiday

By Alana Gomez, WBZ-TV
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USS Oak Hill docks in South Boston.

USS Oak Hill docks in South Boston.

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BOSTON (CBS) – Sailor Kevin Matson is from Whitman, but hasn’t been back since Christmas.

When he found out his ship, the USS Oak Hill was making a detour from Rhode Island to Massachusetts, he flipped.

“So awesome,” said Officer Matson. “I’m looking forward to good cable TV, a window, not taking a shower with shower shoes on.”

The holiday break is part of Boston’s Harborfest. Starting Thursday, visitors can take a tour of the amphibious assault vessel and learn about life out on sea.

Related: USS Oak Hill Offering Public Tours

“Every day’s an adventure,” said Commander David Bauer. “The ship was deployed to the horn of Africa where they hunted pirates and they were actually able to capture some pirates and we actually had to sink their vessel after we captured them.”

The ship is also used for humanitarian missions and disaster relief. The USS Oak Hill is named after the residence of fifth president of the United States, James Monroe. When it’s not deployed or making public appearances it’s docked in Virginia Beach, Virginia and used for training.

The massive ship is as long as one and half football fields, weighs over 16 thousand tons, and has a flight deck where two helicopters can land at the same time.

When the flight deck isn’t used as a landing strip the sailors have some fun with it.

WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports

“We play basketball here sometimes,” said Commander Bauer.

Bauer said there’s a lot of local sailors onboard who are happy to be home for the weekend. Matson is one of those sailors, and says he wishes the trip had come a couple weeks earlier.

“I wish I could’ve been back here to see the Bruins win,” said Matson.

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