By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Paul E. Manukin III, Fleet Week New York Public Affairs
NEW YORK (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard officially kicked off 2015 Fleet Week New York (FWNY) with a Parade of Ships, May 20.
FWNY, now in its 27th year, 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 tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services. Nearly 1,800 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen are participating this year.
"I love Fleet Week, especially being retired Navy," said Jim Brandow, commander for Post 107 Veterans of Foreign Wars, who welcomed the ships into the city at Fort Hamilton. "Just being around the whole military family here and seeing the warships parade through New York harbor is very special to me."
Participating ships included the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Stout (DDG 55), U.S. Coast Guard cutters Sturgeon Bay (WTGB 109) and Spencer (WMEC 905), and FDNY Fireboat 343, named in honor of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Ships will be moored at Pier 92 in Manhattan and USS The Sullivans Pier in Staten Island for the duration of FWNY. Free ship tours will be available daily, May 20-25, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tours will give the public a firsthand view of life aboard a ship for service members. FWNY will also feature many demonstrations by the sea services.
"We come every year to show our support of the base," said Patricia McGivney, a 5th grade teacher at St. Patrick Academy. "We have a lot of kids that live on-base and attend the school. It's a nice opportunity for the kids to get out and recognize what a great country we have. The kids are super excited."
The Parade of Ships is only the beginning of the weeklong celebration. Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen get the chance to explore New York City and participate in special events and parades, including multiple Memorial Day events.
"This is not my first Fleet Week; this is my first time seeing the ships come in though," said Navy Master-at-Arms Seaman Richie Hernandez, a native of New York City. "It brings a lot of joy and pride in what I am doing and just seeing the ships and knowing these guys go out to sea and what they risk and do out there."