Fleet Week

Xinhua/Sipa USA

Parade Of Ships Kicks Off Fleet Week 2018

May 23, 2018 - 9:11 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Anchors aweigh!

Fleet Week 2018 kicked off Wednesday with a parade of ships up the Hudson River.

Eleven ships carrying 2,300 sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen are in for a week of tours and celebrations.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, an FDNY fire boat welcomed the sailors to New York Harbor with sprays of water. The amphibious transport dock U.S.S. Arlington from Norfolk, Virginia led the parade with Marines in their dress blues and sailors in white manning the rails past the Statue of Liberty – and saluting at the 9/11 Memorial.

Vincent Catalano of Babylon, Long Island was watching. His son, Michael, is the ship’s lieutenant commander.

Catalano said his son was a fan of Fleet Week long before joining the service himself.

“He loved Fleet Week. He always came down here. As a matter of fact, when the JFK was still commissioned, that’s the aircraft carrier that used to come up here, we went every year on the JFK,” he said.

Diamond earlier was scheduled to join the Marines from Camp Lejeune aboard the Arlington, but her mission out to the ship was scrubbed because of heavy fog and she watched from the Battery.

"The ceiling was too low for the pilot to take us out to the ship," Diamond reported.

The ship received cannon salutes at Fort Hamilton and Fort Wadsworth before headign heading toward Lower Manhattan.

Ships will be docked on Manhttan's West Side, Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Merchant Marine Academy and the Bronx SUNY Maritime College for the 30th annual Fleet Week in New York City.

This is a chance for the men and women in uniform to get a taste of New York -- the ballgames, the Statue of Liberty and of course Times Square.

Participants said they always have a fantastic experience in New York.

“This is actually my third personal Fleet Week, and each year, it just keeps getting better,” said Lt. Justin Vitalis, who is in charge of all helicopter operations for Fleet Week.

He said it was a great opportunity for the sailors, Coast Guard officers, and Marines to experience “the best city on the face of the earth,” as well as an opportunity for people in the Tri-State Area to get a feel for what it’s like to be in the service.

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will host a series of events including a free screening of Top Gun on the flight deck, a Battle of the Big Bands music and swing dancing event, and the annual Memorial Day commemoration ceremony, featuring the unfurling of a 100-foot American flag, the playing of Taps, a ceremonial wreath laying and a 3-volley rifle salute.