Another LA Fleet Week has come and gone. Many have never attended a Fleet Week event unless they’ve lived in a city with a major U.S. Naval base. During a few days a year, the Navy opens drops the gangway and invites the public on board to get a glimpse of what life is like aboard a ship.
Growing up in San Diego, Fleet Week at North Island was an annual event. I grew up loving the Navy and its feeling of family, perhaps that’s why I joined the Navy back in the day, but that’s a story for another day.
LA Fleet Week is held every year over the Labor Day weekend at the Port of Los Angeles – San Pedro. This year five ships joined the permanently docked U.S.S. Iowa.
Uss Anchorage (LPD-23) is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, is the second ship of the United States Navy to be the namesake of the city of Anchorage, Alaska. She carries a crew of about two thousand.
USS Dewey (DDG-105) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer in the United States Navy. Dewey is the third Navy ship named after Admiral of the Navy George Dewey, the hero of the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. She carries a crew of about three hundred.
USS Scout (MCM-8) is the eighth ship in the Avenger-class of mine countermeasure ships, commissioned by the U.S. Navy on December 15, 1990. Minesweepers are the smallest ships in the U.S. Navy with a crew of about eighty.
USCGC Cutter Active (WMEC-618) is the eighth Coast Guard vessel to bear its proud name, the first was in 1886. She carries a crew of about seventy-five.
Sunday morning, my husband and I headed down the hill to Los Angeles and met our friend Brent. We found this small restaurant with seating for twenty and were treated to biscuits and gravy, sausage and cheese omelets, and peach waffles. The staff was hopping, and the guests were filling the seats as fast as they were vacated. The food was good, and the staff kept us smiling.
After eating we walked to the cliff and looked out over the San Pedro channel, before heading down to the Port of Los Angeles. We parked a few blocks away, as the parking at the port is sometimes scarce. Once on the pier, it was a street-fair atmosphere. Vendors and organizations educated, informed, entertained and enticed. There were even activities for the kids.
To see the ships, you needed to go past the vendors and the U.S.S. Iowa and through a security check. Once inside the dome, there were more vendors and displays as we wound our way toward the line. We had made reservations and held tickets, so we were able to go to the shorter line. The standby line was nearly three times as long, so it was worth the time to go online and get the free ticket.
We didn’t know which ship we would tour. It was the luck of the draw, a crew member from one of the ships would come to the line and take twenty or so people to their ship. We were in a group that visited the U.S.S. Dewey.
The Dewey is small compared to a transport ship or an aircraft carrier, but don’t be deceived she may be small, but she is fierce (to paraphrase Shakespeare). Her job is to protect the air craft carrier with missiles and guns that can shoot several hundred rounds a minute. Seeing the upper decks and guns pales in getting to visit with this new generation of sailors. The young men and women are smart, brave, and volunteers. They chose this with eye wide open and few reservations. I am proud to call them my brothers and sisters.
After the brief tour, we headed home, tired, sunburned, and happy we made the drive. Hope to see you there next year.
Wishing you all “Fair Winds and a Following Sea.”
Just a short post script – I did take more than fifty photographs but some how lost all but one. I am grateful to http://www.lafleetweek.com for the use of thier photos.