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Navy vessels decorate Buffalo's waterfront

Navy Week has officially arrived with an influx of ships and sailors.

Two frigates arrived yesterday in the Gateway Terminal complex in Lackawanna while other ships are now docked at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park .

Under tight, armed security, the U.S. Navy frigate DeWert and the Canadian frigate Ville De Quebec arrived as part of cruises commemorating the War of 1812.

Both ships are on more of a tour than on naval roles but both have recently been in violent corners of the world on anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia and the DeWert has been in the Caribbean on anti-drug patrols.

Commander Joe Thomas is the ship's captain, far up the Navy ladder from when he enlisted 29 years ago.
"This ship just returned in March of this year from a counter-piracy operation fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia for about seven months," Thomas said. 

"We do counter-drug operations off the coast of Latin America to stop the free trade of drugs coming into the United States."

Thomas says he's never been on the Great Lakes before and was looking forward to the cruise and the six cities the DeWert is visiting.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.