San Francisco Fleet Week Kicks Off With Parade of Ships

Story Number: NNS061008-05Release Date: 10/8/2006 5:09:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Katherine Sanchez, San Francisco Fleet Week Command Information Bureau

SAN FRANCISCO (NNS) -- Thousands of spectators gathered along the embarcadero and Marina Green Oct. 7 to view the annual parade of ships, kicking off San Francisco Fleet Week 2006.

The flotilla of Navy vessels highlighting the event included the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS Higgins (DDG76) and USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53). U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC 623) also participated in the procession.

Nimitz arrived with complete air wing aboard, offering onlookers the unique opportunity to watch two F/A-18 Hornets launch and streak across the San Francisco skyline.

Rear Adm. Terry Blake, commander, Carrier Strike Group 11, said events like the parade of ships offer the public a glimpse of what the military is capable of and what they are doing around the world.

"If you look at the total number of people in the service, both on active duty and in the reserves, we are a very small percentage of the population, but we are a very critical piece," Blake said. "That's why I think it's important that people know that we're out there and we're doing great things. I think that you will find, particularly in this time with the global war on terror, that the American people are appreciative of what these people are doing."

The parade of ships marks the beginning of the weeklong celebration of the sea services. In addition to the parade of ships, Sailors will offer residents and visitors to the waterfront shipboard tours, live music performances and flight demonstrations by the Blue Angels.

For some though, the Parade of Ships is the highlight of the annual event established in 1981 by then Mayor Dianne Feinstein.

"One of the things that inspired me to join the Navy was watching the ships pull in," said Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Andrew Coats. "The presence of the Sailors and the display of power were so impressive that I joined the Navy less than a year later."

Carey Wilkinson, a resident of San Francisco, has enjoyed the event every year for the past six years.

"Every year it's very exciting to see all the ships and Sailors at Fleet Week," said Wilkinson. "The capabilities and technology the Navy has are very impressive and not something we see everyday in San Francisco."

In addition to planned activities to increase awareness of the sea services, some of the more than 7,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen in San Francisco for Fleet Week will participate in community service projects ranging from building homes with Habitat for Humanity to working with children at the California School for the Deaf.

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A Parade of Ships led by the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), pass under the Golden Gate Bridge while entering San Francisco Bay during San Francisco Fleet Week 2006.
061007-O-7676W-120 San Francisco (October 7, 2006) - A Parade of Ships led by the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), pass under the Golden Gate Bridge while entering San Francisco Bay during San Francisco Fleet Week 2006. Since 1981, San Francisco Fleet Week has been an annual opportunity for Northern Californians to honor the men and women serving in the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Marines. This year approximately 9,000 crew members on visiting ships will arrive in the city to participate in Fleet Week. Ship's tours and community service projects are scheduled throughout the Bay Area. Ships participating included, the destroyers USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Chafee (DDG 90), the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Steadfast (WMEC 623), destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), and amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). U.S. Navy Photograph by Mr. John F. Williams
October 8, 2006
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