Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fleet Week 2009 in New York City

This year's Fleet Week will have the smallest contingent of major American combat ships since the annual event's debut 22 years ago.The Navy blames the slimmer show on the need to save money.Fleet Week 2009, which brings an array of warships to New York City's harbors, will mark the return of the museum ship Intrepid, which will host the six-day event after being absent from the celebration for two years for renovations.Included in this year's lineup of 13 vessels that are to grace the Hudson River today are the 40,500-ton assault helicopter carrier USS Iwo Jima, as well as missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf and missile destroyer USS Roosevelt, organizers say.
Earlier this year, the Iwo Jima and Vella Gulf came back from the Persian Gulf region, where they combated pirates off East Africa.No full-size aircraft carrier has taken part in Fleet Week in four years.Like the size of the ships themselves, the number of ships participating in Fleet Week has grown smaller in recent years."The Navy is saving money, trying to reduce costs," Lt. Lesley Lykins, a Navy spokeswoman, told The Associated Press.A spokeswoman for New York City's tourism agency, NYC & Company, doesn't expect the leaner lineup will dampen tourism."With dozens of exciting activities scheduled in celebration of Fleet Week, and hundreds of other public events and programs taking place throughout the five boroughs this week, we do not anticipate the reduced number of vessels will have any effect on tourism in NYC," said the spokeswoman, Carli Smith.With 100,000 visitors expected to attend -- U.S. Defense Secretary Bob Gates is expected as a guest of honor -- Intrepid President Bill White promised this year's Fleet Week would be "bigger and better."The festivities will include military demonstrations by the Army Special Forces troops and Marines, ship tours and military band performances.More than 2,500 veterans are expected for Monday's Memorial Day ceremonies.The Iwo Jima will host veterans of a deadly 1945 battle that earned the ship its name."These men are all now in their 80s, and having them come from all over the country is pretty amazing," White told The AP
Due to Major cut backs *sigh* Looks like these Gems of The Navy are not going to make it this year's New York Fleet Week .. But they are about .. Sensational and Quite Moving to see in person no matter how many times one experiences them .. ah goosebumps and a humble tear !!
What is Fleet Week?:
Since 1984, New York City has held Fleet Week to honor the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The week features extensive military demonstrations, as well as the opportunity for the public to tour some of the visiting ships. The Memorial Day commemoration is a highlight of the week's festivities, featuring the singing of Taps and a military aircraft fly over in honor of those who lost their lives in service to the United States.

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