Aboard the USS Iwo Jima: Sailors excited for move to Florida

By Kent Justice - Anchor/reporter

ATLANTIC OCEAN - Two more ships are underway to Mayport -- part of the Amphibious Readiness Group leaving Norfolk, Virginia to homeport in Jacksonville.

News4Jax coverage continues aboard the USS Iwo Jima with Channel 4's Kent Justice, who met some sailors who chose to serve on the ship specifically because of its move to Florida.

"I'm really excited. Closer to family, just excited to be back in Florida," said sailor Charles Wingate, who's from the Gainesville area. "It's home. Home is where it's at."

The motto of the USS Iwo Jima is "uncommon valor," and right now there's uncommon excitement from the sailors and Marines aboard the ship about the move.

"I'm looking forward to it, really really looking forward to it," said Richard Agbodo, a logistics specialist from Ghana. "To experience life there as a sailor and also to get to meet the good people of Florida."

For the men and women serving aboard the USS Iwo Jima, the excitement comes from people who who already know Florida and from those who have never been there before. It's a "dream come true" for Zachary Driscoll, a 19-year-old from Ormond Beach.

"I've been on the Iwo a little over a month now. I'm the fresh meat," Driscoll said. "But I'm enjoying it a lot. It's a good experience."

Driscoll keeps telling his shipmates what they have to look forward to. He said that's an added bonus to the life of a sailor, which he already enjoys.

"Absolutely, it's an exciting atmosphere," Driscoll said. "I get to live on a great ship. I get to see the world. I get to meet a lot of new people. Get to use equipment other people can't use. Overall, just a different kind of atmosphere, and great to be part of it."

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