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16th Annual Fleet Week Kicksoff

By Cpl. Lameen Witter | | May 21, 2003

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Some that of that "old Marine Corps spirit" has come to brighten up the big apple as Marines and Sailors come into the ports of New York for the 16th annual sea services celebration known as fleet week.


May 21 was the first day of the celebrated tradition, and the festivities will run through the week to May 28.  During the eight days, servicemembers will attend several arranged community functions and stage events for the community to learn more about the sea services.


New Yorkers were treated to a parade of ships in front of the USS Intrepid as a kick-off to the celebration.  Though the weather rained majority of the day, die-hard patriots still turned out to welcome servicemembers with cheers and applause.  Maj. Gen. John G. Castellaw, commanding general, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, spoke at the ceremony as the Intrepid Museum Foundations special guest and thanked all New Yorkers for their hospitality to, "an old country boy from Tennessee."


The USS Oak Hill, YP Starfish, USS Philippine Sea, USS Boone, and the USS Shreveport participated in the parade.  The USCGC Sturgeon Bay, USS Normandy, and USS Stephen W. Groves, followed the procession.  Lastly, the HMS Endurance, USS Portland, USS Yorktown, INS Taragini, HMCS Charlottetown, and USCGC Katherine T. Walker, pulled up the rear, sailing by to the "hoorahs" and salutes of former servicemembers and civilians alike.


For Marine Sgt. James Gabriel, navigator, Stewart Air National Guard Base, the whole experience is exciting.


"We were invited down by New York to celebrate fleet week. So, we're just looking to have a good time and enjoy the cites here," said Gabriel. 


Among a myriad of events, there will be a chow contest, a Memorial Day ceremony, and military demonstrations and performances throughout the week.

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