What is Fleet Week?
Today, Wednesday May 20th, 2009, New York City will kick off its 22nd annual Fleet Week celebration. The celebration will begin with a parade of ships along the Hudson River. Thirteen vessels, including five Canadian ships, will sail up the Hudson River starting at 11 a.m. Eastern time. The biggest and best known ship in this year’s parade will be the USS Iwo Jima, a 40,500-ton assault helicopter carrier.
Fleet Week events will include a military aircraft flyover, multiple free tours of the ships docked in Manhattan and on Staten Island, numerous military band performances, and an excitin display of tactical operations by troops.
The annual Fleet Week celebration isn’t all about letting loose. It’s also a chance for the Navy to show off some of its finest war ships and for America to honor our seamen, and thank them for their contributions to our military service.
This year’s main attraction is the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima. The vessel has been deployed in support of both the wars currently being waged — in Iraw and Afghanistan. The Iwo Jima also responded during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This year marks the vessel’s third appearance at Fleet Week.
The week is filled with unusual and exciting events for the public, including search-and-rescue demonstrations that civilians wouldn’t normally have the chance to see.
Fleet Week is a salute to the sea services of North America, and is an opportunity for the citizens of New York City and of America to show their appreciation to those soldiers who serve and protect America. In honor of Fleet Week, active-duty military personnel and war veterans can ride for free on NY Waterway commuter ferries this week, and many restaurants and private businesses are offering other discounts and benefits to those who have served our nation in the armed forces.
About 100,000 people are expected to visit the warships this week, and bring with them enough money to make a significant impact on the New York economy.
As Fleet Week rolls into town Tuesday, one Manhattan strip club will be waiting with a special drink called the Drunken Captain — this may sound a bit bawdy, but the bar’s owners say that all proceeds from the drink will go back to the troops to support them during war time.
The strip club, called HeadQuarters, is located just blocks from the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum on the West Side of the city. The special Fleet Week drink is selling for $16 during Fleet Week, which may sound like a hefty price tag until you remember that the proceeds are going to support our Navy. Military personnel can buy the Fleet Week special for $10.
The bar’s general manager Serafina Fiori had this to say about the drink special and Fleet Week: “All of us here at HeadQuarters appreciate all the men and women who put themselves at risk every day to allow us to have the freedom to express ourselves. We welcome them always so they can see firsthand what they’re fighting for!”
While the drink special is a bit tongue in cheek, the bar owner’s hearts seem to be in the right place — offering money as support for the troops, and offering “entertainers” to keep the soldier’s morale high.
The Drunken Captain is a mixture of coconut, mango and pineapple rums with a little pineapple juice and a splash of cranberry. Fiori said proceeds from the sales of the drink will go to benefit the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Airmen’s & Coast Guard Clubs. The club has been housing soldiers and veterans while they visit New York City for the past 90 years.
Thousands of Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen from U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ships will be in Manhattan for this year’s Fleet Week in New York, May 20 – 27.
Hosted every year since 1984, Fleet Week New York is the City’s celebration of the sea services. This annual event also provides an opportunity for the citizens of New York City and the surrounding Tri-State area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as to witness live in person the latest capabilities of today’s Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Team.