US sailors ordered to 'clap like we're at a strip club' for Vice-President Pence

US sailors stand at parade rest during a Change of Command ceremony aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp in Subic Bay, Philippines, on April 13, 2019.
US sailors stand at parade rest during a Change of Command ceremony aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp in Subic Bay, Philippines, on April 13, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (DPA) - United States Vice-President Mike Pence got a friendly welcome aboard the USS Harry S. Truman on Tuesday (May 1). Maybe a little too friendly.

Ahead of Mr Pence's arrival on the Truman, docked at Norfolk Naval Station, Virginia, for maintenance and training, the more than 2,000 sailors aboard were instructed to "clap like we're at a strip club", the ship's public information officer confirmed to the New York Daily News.

"This statement was inappropriate, and this issue is being addressed by Truman's leadership," Ms Laura Stegherr, the public information officer, said in a statement.

"Truman's Commanding Officer personally engaged the crew during all-hands calls to ensure that all sailors on board understand that the comments they heard are unacceptable," she said.

Beyond meeting the sailors, Mr Pence also announced that plans to decommission the Truman early had been cancelled, despite a February announcement that the early retirement would save the Navy US$30 billion (S$40.9 billion).

"We are keeping the best carrier in the world in the fight. We are not retiring the Truman," Mr Pence said during his speech. "The USS Harry S. Truman is gonna be giving 'em hell for many years to come."

President Donald Trump confirmed the decision on Wednesday.

"I am overriding the Decommission Order of the magnificent aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, built in 1998 (fairly new) and considered one of the largest and finest in the world," he tweeted.

"It will be updated at a fraction of the cost of a new one (which is also being built)!"