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Seattle Fleet Week 2019 Draws to a Close
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Northwest
SEATTLE The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) departed the Port of Seattle Aug. 2, officially ending Seattle Fleet Week.
Seattle Fleet Week is a time-honored celebration of the sea services and provides an opportunity for the citizens of Washington to meet Sailors and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services, which took place from July 29 through August 2, 2019.
“We care a great deal about the communities in which we live and work, and do our best to support our shared environment. So, I want to thank the outstanding people of Washington State who continue to support their U.S. Navy,” said Rear Adm. Scott Gray, commander, Navy Region Northwest. “It was great to see our Sailors out interacting in the community as well as allowing the community to see what the Navy has to offer and meet the men and women who perform our mission.”
The annual event began with a parade of U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, a Royal Canadian Navy ship and a Seattle fireboat in Elliott Bay and featured Spruance and Mobile Bay, as well as Hamilton-class high endurance cutter USCGC Active (WMEC-618), the Kingston-class coastal defence vessel HMCS Edmonton and the Seattle fireboat Leschi.
“Since 1950, Seattle has used Fleet Week to celebrate those who proudly and courageously serve our country,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “As one of the four west coast cities to host a Navy week, it is always, for me, kind of thrilling to see those ships docked on the waterfront.”
During the event, Sailors and Coast Guardsman conducted public ship tours of Spruance, Mobile Bay and Active at Pier 66, while Royal Canadian Navy Sailors hosted tours of Edmonton at Pier 69. In total, more than 6,158 visitors toured the warships.
“This is very special to me because I appreciate all the service men and women, and to be able to see a glimpse of their lives was amazing,” said tour attendee Maryanne Joseph, a native of San Jose Calif. “It’s just great that they put this on so that the public can see what they do, it’s not very often a non-service member gets to see these ships up close.
Throughout the week, U.S. and Canadian service members engaged with Seattleites through multiple community outreach events, including ship tours, community service projects, environmental educational displays, hospital visits and performances from Navy Band Northwest and the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels.
“For some of us, this is our first time in the city of Seattle,” said Damage Controlman 1st Class Shaun Clement, assigned to USS Mobile Bay. “This is just another way for us to give back to the community the best way we can.”
Seattle Fleet Week also provided representatives from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Washington State National Guard, as well as federal and state emergency service agencies, with the opportunity to participate in a Defense Support of Civilian Authorities senior leadership seminar.
The seminar was based on several specific emergency response strategies, including operational communications, public health and medical services, mass care services, situational assessment, critical transportation, public information and dissemination strategies, incident action planning, services and resources, mass search and rescue operations, and on-scene security and protection.
“It provides the opportunity to strengthen and build relationships, and we have to have relationships so we can find out who the allies are in combating a disaster response before we can actually start the response effort,” said Rear Adm. Cedrick Pringle, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 3. “We need to figure out how we can improve our response times and how we can do better than we did the last time, to generate the results that are needed when we are there. If we don’t get to a disaster in a timely manner then we are not necessarily making a difference.”
Thousands gathered at Genesee Park and Lake Washington over the weekend with blankets, binoculars and cameras to check out the Boeing Air Show and Albert Lee Appliance Cup. With boat racing on the water, aerobatic performers in the sky, live music and delicious food on land, the Boeing Air show, featuring the U.S. Navy’s premiere flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, rocked the Seattle area with thunderous jet engines, high speed stunts, and precise, split-second maneuvers that serve as an example of the dedication and discipline associated with military service.
The Emerald City has hosted Seattle Fleet Week on its waterfront since 1950, celebrating the courageous men and women who serve our country.