The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) is moored at pier 88 in New York City during Fleet Week New York 2006. The annual event also provides an opportunity for citizens of New York City and the surrounding Tri-State area to meet Sailors and Marines as well as witness first hand the latest capabilities of today's Navy and Marine Corps team. Fleet Week includes dozens of military demonstrations and displays, including public tours of many of the participating ships. U.S. Navy photo
by Journalist 2nd Class David P. Coleman
The 19th New York City Fleet Week came to a close May 31, as Sailors and Marines left New York City in their wake, headed for their next destination.
While visiting the ‘Big Apple,’ Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen participated in community service events, sports competitions, military demonstrations and Memorial Day remembrances in all five boroughs.
“I’m just impressed by the good, positive attitudes and willingness to work that the young Sailors express,” commented Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Paul Ablaza, a Reservist with Naval Security Forces, Naval Weapons Station Earle, Colts Neck, N.J. “Seeing the dedication of our young Sailors makes me proud to see such a positive influence as the Navy has on Sailors, as well as the kids coming to tour the ships.”
Highlights of the week included a welcome from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a tug-of-war contest among the ships, with the finale against the New York Police Department (NYPD), the Best Chow contest, appearances on New York television shows such as David Letterman, reenlistment ceremonies at Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty, and Memorial Day remembrances.
Sea service members also took part in community service projects and served food at a soup kitchen, cleaned a park for children with disabilities, and spent time with New Yorkers at a children’s home.
In addition to providing services, Sailors and Marines took in the sights and sounds, the hustle and bustle of "the city that never sleeps." With opportunities like being welcomed by the actors of the new X-Men movie, learning a high kick from the Rockettes, taking in a Yankee game, or just having a slice of real New York pizza, sea service members savored the “Big Apple.”
For many service members, it was also long-awaited opportunity to spend time with family. But even being away from home, Sailors and Marines still found hometown friendliness in the big city with the Staten Island Adopt-a-Sailor Program. Starting its seventh year, the Staten Island program has paired more than 100 families with Sailors and Marines during Fleet Week. Families often take the sea service members to dinner, plays or to see the sights.
“I’m part of a family of five when I’m in port,” said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) 1st Class David Smith from USS Klakring (DDG 42). “And I feel like I’m part of a family here, too.”
During Fleet Week, New Yorkers and tourists visited the ships, which were open to the public, with more than 90,000 people touring at Pier 88 in Manhattan and Sullivan’s Pier, Staten Island.
USS Mason (DDG 87), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USCGC Sturgeon Bay (WTGB 109) and USCGC Spencer (WMEC 905) departed May 27.
The remaining six ships departed May 31 and included USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), USS Anzio (CG 68), USS Nitze (DDG 94), Klakring, USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and USS Shreveport (LPD 12).
Fleet Week kicked off May 24 with the majestic Parade of Ships.