Fleet Week 2018 welcomes our nation’s sailors for patriotic celebrations, and we were there to help out.
Each year right before Memorial Day, New York City plays host to thousands of sailors and soldiers during the annual Fleet Week celebrations.
This scene from Sex and the City sums up how New Yorkers feel about Fleet Week:
It’s Finally Here!! Ships Ahoy! Fleet Week is Back in NYC!! 🛳⚓🇺🇸 #FleetWeek #FleetWeek2018 #NYC #NewYorkCity #Manhattan #FleetWeekNYC #FleetWeekNYC2018 #Navy #Sailors #Marines #CoastGuard #USMC #USNavy #USCoastguard #Seamen #America #USA #MilitaryMen #Patriotism #ProudAmerican #SexAndTheCity #CarrieBradshaw #SarahJessicaParker #SamanthaJones #KimCattrall #ProudToBeAnAmerican #GodBlessAmerica #HelloSailor #ThankYouForYourService #ShipsAhoy
This is what WE did during Fleet Week:
A little different, right? But a ton of fun and a great way to kick off the holiday weekend.
Fleet Week gets started the Wednesday before Memorial Day with a parade of ships that sail through New York Harbor and dock around the city. They host civilians, friends and families aboard the ships for tours and festivities, and sailors hit the town for well-earned R&R time. Here the USS Arlington passes by the Statue of Liberty.
Military ships dock all around New York. The Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer can be seen here in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Look who just pulled up. The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers (DDGs) is the United States Navy’s first class of destroyer built around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multifunction passive electronically scanned array radar. #fleetweeknyc Get a guided tour at Redhook cruise ship terminal, hot dogs and beer included. Vfw Post 5195, 325 vanbrunt. 🌭🌭🌭⚓⚓⛴⛴🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
The week of festivities include receptions, parties and events, including some aboard the USS Arlington, an amphibious transport dock that is used to transport troops and equipment to war zones. Built in 2008 and with a home base of Norfolk, VA, the USS Arlington carries up to 900 sailors, about 150 of them female. The deck of the Arlington has helicopter landing pads, and visitors were allowed to see the helicopters.
The day we visited the ship was bustling with preparations for a UN reception aboard the ship that night. There were also visitors on tours, tourists snapping photos and crew members giving tours and doing equipment demonstrations including of this tank.
We joined Toyota to help serve donated lunches from Au Bon Pain and Papa John’s Pizza while the galley crew prepared for the UN reception. We were privileged to be assigned to the galley, deep inside the ship where all 900 crew members get their meals. The dining room is neat and bright—especially for the lack of windows.
To get there we were guided through a series of narrow hallways, through the crew’s bunk room and up several flights of stairs that were more like ladders.
It was an honor to be among these soldiers and to thank them for their duty, even as they demonstrated the equipment they use like this bomb suit:
And, this robotic bomb squad, which held a welcome sign the day we visited.
The military tourists will end their sight seeing and ship out on Tuesday. But next year the Wednesday before Memorial Day it starts again with the Parade of Ships to kick off Fleet Week!