By Mei-Xin Yang
Courier Staff Writer
Fleet Week, a spectacular weekend family event featuring precision flying over the San Francisco Bay by Navy's Blue Angels and the Canadian Snowbirds , a parade of Navy ships, ship tours and other exciting events, starts in earnest today.
According to the Fleet Week website, Fleet Week got it's start in May 1908, when the "Great White Fleet" of 16 US Navy battleships, all painted white, with dozens of escorts and 14,000 sailors, entered San Francisco Bay in a demonstration of the U.S.'s naval might. Back then, the fleet remained in San Francisco for two months, departing in July for Hawaii and the remainder of its 14-month tour of the world.
Since 1981 when the event was modernized, Fleet Week has become one of the best-attended annual events in Northern California. This year, they will also have the participation of the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault carrier, and USS Pinckney, a guided missile destroyer, as well as the Coast Guard's newest cutter, the USCG Bertholf, which was commissioned in August 2008. Fleet Week will also show a robust air show with both the US Navy Blue Angel and Canadian Snowbird jet demonstration teams.
This celebration takes place in San Francisco Waterfront; tickets are $25 for Premium Box Seats, and $150 ($75 for children age 4-12) for VIP seats. Also, this event will be on for four days, October 9 to October 14. Tomorrow, the celebration will start from 1-5pm with Blue Angel Survey Flights and practice. From Friday to Sunday, it will start from 12:30-5pm with Air Show Practice, Blue Angles and ships visits. However, Monday and Tues day will only have ships visit from 11-4pm.
Fleet week is an annual opportunity to honor the men and women currently serving in the United States Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. Through this celebration, participants can learn about the character and skill of the nation's maritime services, and see the pride with which they carry out their duties.
As Edward M. Leonard of the SF Fleet Week committee says "Please help me make them feel welcome in our City and assist me in thanking them for the remarkable contribution they are making to our security and well being."