Fleet Week

Fleet Week

Fleet Week is a United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard tradition in which active military ships recently deployed in overseas operations in a variety of major cities for one week. Once the ships dock, the crews can enter the city and visit its tourist attractions. At certain hours, the public can take a guided tour of the ships. Often, Fleet Week is accompanied by military demonstrations and airshows such as provided by the Blue Angels.


The first Fleet Week was celebrated in San Diego during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. [According to studies by the University of California, San Diego.] The years between World War I and World War II saw an increasing military build-up in both Japan and Germany, while Communist USSR was given over to the wave of Stalinist nationalism. Most United States citizens experienced little sense of urgency about foreign developments due to isolationism and concerns with the ongoing economic depression. However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, former Undersecretary of the Navy, was intent on expanding the Navy in response to world political trends. A major aircraft company was moving to Lindbergh Field, now San Diego International Airport. In this atmosphere, Fleet Week was born.

At 11 o'clock on the morning of May 29, 1935, a color guard of the United States Marine Corps led a parade across Cabrillo Bridge to Plaza del Pacifico, where the national flag was raised to officially open the Exposition. At 8 o'clock in the evening, President Roosevelt spoke by telephone and designated two selected orphans to press the buttons turning on the lights which bathed the grounds in color. In his remarks, heard over the loudspeaker system, Roosevelt said: "The decision of the people of San Diego thus to dedicate the California Pacific International Exposition is, I believe, worthy of the courage and confidence with which our people now look to the future. No one can deny that we have passed through troubled years. No one can fail to feel the inspiration of your high purpose. I wish you great success."

In Fleet Week in June 1935, 114 warships and 400 military planes arrived under command of Admiral Joseph M. Reeves, Commander-in-Chief of the United States Fleet. It was described as the mightiest fleet ever assembled under the United States flag. It included forty-eight battleships, cruisers and carriers, with more than 3000 commissioned officers and 55,000 enlisted men. The Navy men visited the Exposition and in turn thousands of San Diegans and other fairgoers were guests on the various ships.

Although San Diego is the birthplace of Fleet Week, the event was held only once in 1935, and not again until 1981 was Fleet Week revived in San Francisco in conjunction with Columbus Day celebrations. Since then, the event has been held every year in October the weekend of Columbus Day. Fleet Weeks have since spread to other cities, notably New York City starting in 1984, and San Diego and Fort Lauderdale. Unlike other cities, San Francisco has held its Fleet Week regularly every year without a break and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2005. The event is estimated to attract over one million people Fact|date=February 2008 to watch the air show along the bay waterfront stretching from the Ferry Building to the Golden Gate Bridge.

During the New York Fleet Week, ships are docked at New York Passenger Ship Terminal in Manhattan and at Stapleton, Staten Island. The 2008 Fleet Week began May 21 and included Canadian ships.

Seattle also has a fleet week for Seafair.


External links

* [http://www.southpoint.com/states/ca/sanfranfleet.html San Francisco Fleetweek Top Photos]
* [http://www.seafair.com/events/fleetweek Seattle Seafair Fleet Week Website]
* [http://fleetweek.navy.mil/ US Navy official Fleet Week Website]
* [http://www.nowpublic.com/well_hi_there_sailors Over 50 Photos from NYC Fleet Week 2006]
* [http://fleetweek.us/fleetweek San Francisco Fleet Week Website]
* [http://www.fleetweeksandiego.org San Diego Fleet Week Website]
* [http://fleetweekthemusical.com Fleet Week: The Musical]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNbFivydLYY San Francisco Fleet Week Video]

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