Seven crew members of the USS Mesa Verde toured the Balcony House and Cliff Palace cliff dwellings and performed maintenance work on the Petroglyph Trail during a visit this week to Mesa Verde National Park.
The visiting crew members are rated as the top of their class, said Cristy Brown, a spokeswoman for the park. They included Capt. Max Clark, Command Master Chief Graham Luby, Lt. Andrew Brod, Quartermaster Seaman Ansenette Equia, Information Technologist Joseph Amaya, Boatswain’s Mate Dominique Maisonette and Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Dante Bryant.
The seven crew members also met officials of Mesa Verde’s 24 affiliated tribes in a reception on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, the crew participated in a potluck luncheon provided by park staff, where Luby and Brod presented park Superintendent Cliff Spencer with a U.S. flag that was flown over the ship the previous week, and a commemorative plaque featuring insignia and photos of the ship, Brown said. The crew also met former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, ship sponsor Linda Campbell, and former Gov. Peter Pino of Zia Pueblo – all who were at the ship’s dedication on Jan. 15, 2005.
“Experiencing the dwellings and the landscape was remarkable, but what truly struck us was the spirit of the people,” Brod said. “Meeting with the people who call Mesa Verde home opened our eyes to the park, not just being history, but being part of their present and future,” Brod said. “Interacting and working alongside the park staff gave us a renewed appreciation for their work and a vision for what our country does to protect our natural resources.”