May 21st, 2009 Heather Kovar
A BIG thanks to Achilles Schiano for this write up and photos! WOW!
THE PARADE OF SHIPS 2009 sails through a murky haze up the Hudson,
with the Verrazano Bridge in the distance, as the annual Fleet Week
got underway Wednesday.
The 11-plus flotilla of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard
vessels, and several Canadian ships, sailed past the command ship, the
USS IWO JIMA, a 40,500-ton amphibious assault ship bearing the name of
a storied and bloody battle of WWII
USS VELLA GULF, Aegis guided missile cruiser, finds
itself in friendlier waters after its role in tackling Somali pirates
off East Africa. It and the IWO JIMA returned in March after
seven-month deployments to the Persian Gulf area. Several of the other
ships had also served over there.
What’s a parade without OLD GLORY.
Among the Coast Guard vessels was one with a
history—USCG SPENCER which was the on-scene command ship in 1999
when Egyptian Flight 990 crashed near Nantucket, and was a first
responder during the Katrina Hurricane in 2005.
The DDG-80, THE ROOSEVELT, a missile-packing Arleigh
Burke-class destroyer joins in. She, the VELLA GULF and the IWO JIMA
are the major combat ships in this year’s Fleet Week, said to be the
smallest contingent ever sent in two decades-plus, and apparently tied
to the economy.
It’s a bird, sorta. Actually three F-18 Hornet jets do a
Curious? Two Marine V-22 OSPREYs give an aerial salute.
These are tilt-rotor aircraft designed for vertical takeoff and level
Approaching the IWO JIMA, docked at Pier 88 westside, is
Canada’s Halifax-class frigate, the HMCS FREDERICTON. Canada sent five
ships to the festivities which conclude Memorial Day, May 26. Some
ships are berthed at the westside piers and other ships are at Staten
island. Numerous displays, exhibitions, and fun things like tugs of
war will be featured.
Getting a catbird’s view are New Jerseyans atop the