NEW YORK (NNS) -- Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), Marines and Coast Guardsmen participated in the USO's "Operation That's My Ride" event, May 25, during Fleet Week New York 2017.
The service members and USO volunteers built 300 bicycles which, along with an additional 200 bicycles, will be donated to children of service members.
"The bikes are for the children of service members who are here at Fleet Week," said Brian Whiting, chief executive officer of USO of Metropolitan New York. "They will all go back on the ships that are here and will be delivered to the service members who have come to town. When they get back, they will be able to give the bikes to their children."
Each year, these bicycles help military families build memories and recognize the children who are back home while their parents are away.
"There's no doubt we all remember learning to ride a bike," Whiting said. "This is something that will hopefully create some memories for the families for many years to come."
During the event, the checkered crowd of civilians and service members split up into groups to assemble bicycles and equip each one with a helmet, bow and handwritten note to the families.
"It feels good to be helping out," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Anthony Skinner. "Fleet Week feels like it's supposed to be for us [service members], so I'm glad we do events like this because we can show appreciation to those who support us. It feels good to be able to give back, instead of just enjoying all the benefits."
"Operation That's My Ride" has provided more than 75,000 bicycles since its inception in 2007. While the USO recognizes the service of military families, it's parent event, Fleet Week, provides citizens of New York a way to give back also to those who serve.
"New Yorkers love Fleet Week," said Tricia Rumola, manager of community engagement for Delta Airlines, who partnered with the USO for the event. "Usually it's so busy here [in New York]. Everyone is in their own world. But when all the Sailors come in, everyone gets so happy and proud. The amount of companies that help out and provide discounts, whether it's the art museums, theaters, or the Mets or Yankees, everyone comes together and it's the least we can do for all the military does for us."
Fleet Week New York is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services.
The theme for this year's Fleet Week New York 2017 is "Celebrating the Sea Services and Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Seabees."
For up-to-date information on ship locations and tour schedules, visit the official Fleet Week New York website at www.fleetweeknewyork.com, "Like" www.facebook.com/FleetWeekNewYork, or "Follow" www.twitter.com/FleetWeekNYC.
For more news from USS Kearsarge, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lhd3/.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.