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Baton Rouge local, commander of current U.S.S. Kidd, visits historic ship

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BATON ROUGE - It was a walk down memory lane, figuratively and literally, for Commander Matt Noland as he toured the U.S.S. KIDD Thursday morning.

"It's been a long time since I came down here and saw this, but I remember it," Noland said. "I slept right here."

It's been three decades since Noland last visited the ship that inspired him to become a sailor. He first toured the vessel when he was just seven years old.

"Forget the wartime part of it just living, these mattresses this thin, sleeping also where they ate I mean these were tough, tough sailors," Noland said.

The commander studied history at LSU, but he knew a life at sea is what he wanted.

"I knew I was called to serve in the armed forces in some way," Noland said. "I wanted to put on a uniform for four years. Who knew I would stay in it this long."

It's been 20 years and counting since he joined the Navy. The Baton Rouge native, who once spent a night on the KIDD with his Cub Scouts Den, now commands the current U.S.S. KIDD stationed near Seattle.

"It's unreal," Noland said. "To zoom out and think of that. I was a little kid on that ship and somehow I have grown up and made this into a life and a career."

This week Commander Noland gave a speech on the deck of the KIDD commemorating the lives lost at Pearl Harbor. Among those who died that day was Issac C. Kidd, a Rear Admiral for whom the ship is named.

"It's pretty humbling to come back here and talk to veterans and people from Baton Rouge and elsewhere," Noland said. "Especially two older sailors from this U.S.S. KIDD. It's pretty humbling when I stop to think about it."

Noland says it's a gift to see everything come full circle and he's grateful for the opportunity he's had.

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