NEW YORK (NNS) -- Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) participated in the the annual Columbus Day parade in New York City, Oct. 13. The parade runs along Fifth Avenue and helps commemorate the 100th anniversary of President Theodore Roosevelt's Great White Fleet.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class (AW) Michelle Hernandez, one of the 45 Nassau Sailors marching in the parade, carried the ensign for the ship.
"I've lived in New York for almost 10 years," said Hernandez. "I'm so proud to march in front of my fellow New Yorkers as a United States Sailor."
Sailors from Italian submarine ITS Salvatore Todaro (S 526) also marched in the parade, demonstrating the strong alliance between the partnering navies.
"We work very good together with our United States Navy friends," said Vice Adm. Guiseppe Lertora, commander and chief of the Italian Fleet. "Not only on the operational side, but also with the training and maritime security. My fleet works shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. fleet. We are very grateful for what America did with the Great White Fleet for our country, so thank you to your Navy."
Nassau's Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Stanley Kopiczak said he was very proud to see the ship represented during the parade.
"My crew had a very challenging year," said Kopiczak. "Being deployed for most of the year and soon after coming home, we deployed again to help the city of Galveston, Texas, after Hurricane Ike hit. My crew worked hard, and I am so proud to see them marching in today's parade representing our ship and our Navy."
Italian-American New Yorker John Aramanno, a spectator at the parade, said, "I got chills as the Navy Sailors marched by, thinking about where they've been, where they might be going, and to see them here today, marching and representing our country. It made me feel very proud, and it makes me feel honored to be a citizen of this country."
Aramanno also spoke about the Great White Fleet, and how grateful he and his ancestors are for the Navy and all they had done for their native country.
"The Navy is going above and beyond for us and it seems there are no limits of what they are willing to do, for us and for our allies and our friends across the world."
Columbus Day honors the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. The day also celebrates Italian-American culture. New York City has marked the day with a parade since 1929.
For more news from USS Nassau visit www.navy.mil/local/lha4/.