Fleet Week has returned to San Diego. Both those in the military as well as the civilian population were able to view the sea and air parade that included Marine, Coast Guard, and Navy vessels/planes, a very impressive arsenal. The events included the Parade, ship tours, a college football game and the Coronado Speed Festival. Still to come is the Miramar Air Show, the boot camp challenge, and the Cabrillo Festival. This year took inspiration from the inaugural Fleet Week in June 1935 that had over 114 warships and 400 military planes, with a vision to recognize the contributions made by the armed services to the greater San Diego communities.
Vice Admiral Nora Tyson, the commander of US Navy’s Third Fleet, is proud of its rich history and that it is now based in San Diego at Point Loma.
“I am glad to call San Diego home,” Tyson said. “We want to recognize and renew our strong ties with the communities. I hope people get to speak with our Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen during these events. We have the most incredible young people in the military that are so honored to wear the uniform. Fleet Week is all about the connection. It is a reminder of how we depend on the community to help support those deployed, taking care of them so that we can do our job for this country.”
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is glad to welcome Fleet Week back to San Diego. He is “proud to call San Diego the US Navy’s town. This is a chance for citizens to say thank you and to show the best of our country. Seeing the ships and planes reinforces the sacrifice of what people have made to keep us safe. Americans need to remember they are our fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and Little League coaches who are all a part of our community. We are all linked.”
What made Fleet Week even more potent was that many of the events were held on the day before the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11. Military Press asked a range of those serving what that horrific day has meant to them. Vice-Admiral Nora Tyson noted that she was actually working in the Pentagon when the plane hit, although on the opposite side.
“I remember people running. It all seemed too surreal. But it was a wake-up call, even for those in the military who thought we could not be personally attacked. It changed our attitudes of how we viewed things.”
San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman sees a connection between those serving as police officers to those serving in the military.
“Both have put service above self and go out each and every day hoping to make a positive difference in people’s lives,” she said. “We as police officers go into our neighborhoods every day to make them safer, while our military goes into distant lands to make this country safe. I remember on 9/11 questioning if our city was going to be attacked next. Whether in the military or in the police we know freedom is not free, it comes with sacrifice.”
A Coast Guard diver and two Seabees reflected on the fact that 9/11 influenced them to enlist. They all wanted to do something for their country by serving. They see as their job, to keep Americans safe. What they want their fellow Americans to understand, “We sacrifice and so do our families. We decided to take action to help rebuild our country.”
Anyone that has not yet gone to a Fleet Week event should try to participate in one of the future events to show the troops they are supported at home.