2016 Event Review

Fleet Week New York 2016, May 25th - 31st
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Admission: Free
Parking: Free
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: Not an air show
 

Statue of Liberty during the parade of ships for Fleet Week in New York.

Fleet Week New York 2016 did not disappoint - the weather was beautiful and the ships were grand. The 28th annual celebration of our military sea services took place from May 25th - 31st and was greeted with residents of the tri-state area and all over the world. This event started with the Parade of Ships up the Hudson River. Thousands of people lines the banks of the river to watch the U.S. and Canadian ships manned by 4,500 sailors, Marines and Coastguardsmen. The following ships took part in this parade:

USS Bataan: This is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship that was commissioned in 1997 and named to honor the defense of the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines during WWII. This Wasp-class ship is capable of transporting almost the full strength of a U.S. Marie Corps Expeditionary Unit and landing them in hostile territory via landing craft or helicopters. The USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group were the first ships to respond after our 911 attacks delivering more than 2,500 Marines to Pakistan for the start of Operation Enduring Freedom. This ship stayed on station off the coast of Pakistan and completed the longest sustained amphibious assault in U.S. history with sailors not touching ground for over four months. During the Iraq War, the USS Bataan was used as a "Harrier Carrier" supporting two Marine AV-8B Harrier II squadrons. The Battaan was also instrumental during Hurricane Katrina, providing relief to its victims. It has also been used to provide humanitarian aid following Hurricane Gustav in 2008 and Haiti's 2010 earthquake. In 2014 AV-8B Harriers from Bataan participated in reconnaissance missions and at least one air strike against ISIS-controlled targets in Iraq. In 2008 controversy struck the Bataan when it was revealed that it had been secretly used as a "black site" in which terrorist suspects were held.

USCG Cutter Katherine Walker: Named after a 4'10", 100 pound woman appointed as the keeper of the Robbins Reef Lighthouse in New York Harbor by President Harrison in 1895, Katherine Walker's primary mission is to maintain over 300 floating aids to navigation in and around New York Harbor and its approaches. In addition , this 175 foot Keeper Class buoy tender has been used extensively for international and homeland security operations.

HMCS Athabaskan: This Iroquois-class destroyer has been serving the Royal Canadian Navy since 1972, protecting Canada's sovereignty in the Atlantic Ocean. She has also participated in several NATO missions and in 1990 it was quickly refitted with several advanced weapons so it could participate in Operation Desert Shield. As part of Operation Desert Storm, the Athabaskan undertook escort duties for hospital ships and other vulnerable naval vessels of the coalition. When the USS Princeton was seriously damaged by two Iraqi bottom-moored influence mines, the Athabaskan and her two CH-124 Sea King helicopters capable of searching out mines for long periods, helped the Princeton avoid additional mines until the minesweeper USS Adroit was able to escort them out of the minefield. In September 2005, the Athabaskan provided disaster relief during Hurricane Katrina. And in January 2010 she was deployed to Haiti to assistance following their 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

HMCS Kingston & HMCS Montcton The HMCS Kingston, not to be confused with the HMS Kingston, is a Kingston-class coastal defense vessel that has served in the Canadian Forces since 1996. The HMCS Moncton, another Kingston-class vessel joined the Canadian Forces in 1998. These multi-role vessels, fitted with Z-drive thrusters, are extremely maneuverable and designed to carry up to three 20-foot ISO containers with power hookups on the open deck to embark mission-specific payloads. Their main missions are counter narcotics, coastal surveillance, sovereignty patrol, route survey and training.

USS Farragut: This Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, commissioned in 2006, is the U.S. Navy's first class of destroyers built around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multi-function passive electronically scanned array radar. Named after Admiral Arleigh Burke, this multi-mission destroyer was designed to meet our anti-aircraft warfare needs with their powerful Aegis radar and surface-to-air missiles; anti-submarine ware fare needs with their towed sonar array, anti-submarine rockets, and ASW helicopter; anti-surface warfare needs with their Harpoon missile launcher; and strategic land strike needs with their Tomahawk missiles. The Farragut has been deployed three times to date - in 2008 in support o the Partnership of the Americas; in 2010 for CENTCOM tasks; and in 2012 for additional CENTCOM tasks in the Northern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

USS Bainbridge: This Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer was named in honor of Commodore William Bainbridge, commander of the frigate USS Constitution who distinguished himself in the War of 1812. Commissioned in 2005, the Bainbridge gained national recognition in 2009 when its crewman were involved in the operation that resulted in the release of Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates.

USCG Cutter Forward: This medium endurance cutter was named after Walter Forward, the 15th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. This vessel and crew participated in humanitarian efforts following Haiti's 2010 earthquake.

USS Fort McHenry: Commissioned in 1987, this Whidbey Island-class Dock landing ship features a massive well deck for the transport of U.S. Marine Corps vehicles and a large flight deck for the landing of helicopters or V-22 Ospreys. It's maiden deployment in 1989 was to aid in the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In June 1990, Fort McHenry was deployed to the Persian Gulf for 10 months for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Following multiple additional deployments, the Fort McHenry spent the first half of 2001 obtaining two new weapon systems - Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Launcher and Ship's Self Defense System (SSDS) - to greatly increase the ship's defensive capabilities.
USS Shamal: This Cyclone-class patrol ship, commissioned in 2004, is responsible for coastal patrol and interdiction surveillance as well as providing full mission support for U.S. Navy SEALs and other special operations forces.

Free ship tours were open to the public throughout Fleet Week. There where several demonstration at various locations by the Navy's helicopters and their Parachute Team: the Leap Frogs.

In addition, a tri-state airport was home to the V-22 Osprey for Fleet Week. This multi-mission, tiltrotar military aircraft allows for both vertical takeoff and landing, and short takeoff and landing capabilities. It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

 
Report and photography by Brian R. Veprek for The Aviation Magazine with additional images from the US Navy.

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