NEW YORK CITY -- A free ride to New York City is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of the Camp Lejeune, N.C., Marines attached to the International Naval Review 2000. However, if you're a native and returning home in a Marine uniform, it can be as sweet as big apple pie.
"The best part about being here is I can show people who have never been here places to go, people to see, how people act, and the different parts of the city," said Cpl. Ricardo B. Rivera, an embarkation Marine with 5th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment.
It is also a chance for those Marines native to the area to show their family and friends the work they do in the Corps, and their pride.
"I feel great. I can't wait to see my family. I can't wait to see my friends. I want to display myself as the Marine Corps," said Rivera.
That unto itself makes the experience unique and very memorable, according to Moise.
"They'll enjoy their time. They'll get to showcase what they do to people in the city. The people of the city will show them a great time," he said.
Cpl. Gilbert Caraballo, of Fox Battery, 2d Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment agreed saying the city offers a little bit of everything.
"They can expect a lot of people, a lot of things to do and a lot of fun," he said enthusiastically.
For other Marines returning home, it is a chance to reacquaint themselves with friends past and see the city from a different perspective.
For Carraballo, coming into the New York Harbor aboard USS Kennedy was kind of like a behind the scenes look at the town where it all started for him.
"Its good to be here. It's different. I've been to other places. I've been to other ports on float but there's nothing like coming and seeing what we just saw," said the Manhattan, N.Y., native, shortly after pulling into the harbor. "Seeing all the buildings its not the same as going to Europe it feels better than before to come home."
The trip home was made even sweeter for Caraballo because he earned it through hard work and tireless dedication to his unit and the Marine Corps.
"It came to me as a reward from my regimental CO," said Caraballo. It's an opportunity many wish they had but I got lucky."
While Caraballo and others were fortunate enough to get chosen, some took an aggressive stance on being a part of this event pushing for the chance to come home.
"I asked for it. I got the hook-up from my battalion. We tried to get as many Marines from the area on INR," explained Moise, from Queens, N.Y.
While in the city, as part of International Naval Review 2000, the Marines will also have a chance to strut their athletic stuff in various competitions as part of the Mayor's Cup tournaments.
"We will also have a chance to showcase our athletic capabilities," said Moise. "We'll be involved in many sports like soccer, softball and basketball tournaments to name a few. I'm sure we'll put on a good showing."
Whether it's sports, urban combat skills, technical displays or liberty in and around the city, the experience of the 'Big Apple' is a great opportunity for the hometown Marines and the visiting one's as well.
"Just being in the city, the city life, the people, the nightlife, just everything," said Moise. "There's no other place like it."