Thousands of sailors and Marines visit Miami as the city kicks off its first Fleet Week

Thousands of sailors and Marines visit Miami as the city kicks off its first Fleet Week


Sailors and Marines stand during a parade break on the flight deck of the amphibious assault USS Bataan as it docks in the Port of Miami for Fleet Week, Sunday, May 5, 2024.

Sailors and Marines stand during a parade break on the flight deck of the amphibious assault USS Bataan as it docks in the Port of Miami for Fleet Week, Sunday, May 5, 2024. (Corey Dickstein/The Star-Spangled Banner)

MIAMI — Hundreds of sailors and Marines lined up in tight parade-rest formation on the massive flight deck of the USS Bataan as it cruised to Miami Sunday night, watching nearby boats and city boats. Onlookers along the causeway leading to the port cheered.

As the amphibious assault ship entered port carrying more than 1,000 sailors and 400 Marines for the Navy’s first-ever Fleet Week, car horns blared from cruise ships docked at the port’s terminal. A chorus of “America, America, America” ​​broke out. In Miami. Excited soldiers aboard the 850-foot vessel said they were looking forward to visiting the city’s famous beaches, trying restaurants and exploring bars during the week-long festival.

“Food, dude. I can’t wait to check out the food here,” Lance Corporal said. Jakey Wu, an infantry Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was asked what he was looking forward to in Miami as the ship sailed into port. “Restaurant, yeah. Probably went to the beach. We’re going to take it one step at a time and check out this city.”

Infantry Marine Corporal James Lane (left) and Lance Corporal. Jakey Wu, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, arrived at Fleet Week in Miami aboard the amphibious assault USS Bataan on Sunday, May 5, 2024.

Infantry Marine Corporal James Lane (left) and Lance Corporal. Jakey Wu, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, arrived at Fleet Week in Miami aboard the amphibious assault USS Bataan on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (Corey Dickstein/The Star-Spangled Banner)

The Bataan recently returned from a more than eight-month deployment to the Mediterranean and Middle East and was one of five ships participating in Fleet Week. Others include the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, which will soon deploy to the Middle East, the guided missile cruisers Leyte Gulf and Normandy, and the Coast Guard cutter USS Seneca.

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said Monday that the idea to hold Fleet Week in Miami came about after several dinners with Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levin Cava in recent years. The Navy’s top civilian leader noted that the city holds a special place for the Cuban native, who arrived in Miami as a child as a refugee and later moved to New York.

Sailors and Marines stand along the flight deck of the amphibious assault USS Bataan as it enters the Port of Miami for Fleet Week, Sunday, May 5, 2024.

Sailors and Marines stand along the flight deck of the amphibious assault USS Bataan as it enters the Port of Miami for Fleet Week, Sunday, May 5, 2024. (Corey Dickstein/The Star-Spangled Banner)

The crew of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan looks on at the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman as the ship enters the Port of Miami for Fleet Week, Sunday, May 5, 2024.

The crew of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan looks on at the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman as the ship enters the Port of Miami for Fleet Week, Sunday, May 5, 2024. (Corey Dickstein/The Star-Spangled Banner)

Del Toro said bringing Fleet Week to Miami from the nearby Fort Lauderdale area, which has hosted Fleet Week for decades, will strengthen ties between the military and the city of Miami. He said it should be helpful. Miami is home to several military units, including U.S. Southern Command, which oversees military operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, and officials say the military could improve recruiting in the city. Stated.

“At Fleet Week Miami, we celebrate a new tradition of service in our great city of Miami-Dade County,” said Del Toro. “Thousands of Sailors, Marines, Coast Guard men and women, and military civilians participate in events throughout the greater Miami-Dade region to interact with the Americans we serve, share their stories and serve as public servants. I am ready to share my motivation for my career.”

Levine Cava said Monday that she was impressed to see so many troops already enjoying the city since the ship entered the port late Sunday and early Monday morning. He said the city and county have spent about a year preparing for the event and are hopeful it will generate interest from the visiting military to those serving in the Miami area.

“What really warms my heart is the excitement of the Sailors and Marines in this expedition and the understanding that this is a two-way recruitment,” the mayor said. “We’re looking for people to serve. And it’s a call to a beautiful part of our world, which we call paradise, and it’s a very exciting place to see. [the troops’] Willingness to explore. ”

Sailors and Marines look over Miami Beach from the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan as it enters the Port of Miami for Fleet Week, Sunday, May 5, 2024.

Sailors and Marines look out over Miami Beach from the amphibious assault USS Bataan as it enters the Port of Miami for Fleet Week, Sunday, May 5, 2024. (Corey Dickstein/The Star-Spangled Banner)

The crew of the amphibious assault USS Bataan enters Port of Miami for Fleet Week on May 5, 2024.

The crew of the amphibious assault USS Bataan enters Port of Miami for Fleet Week on May 5, 2024. (Corey Dickstein/The Star-Spangled Banner)

Fleet Week will include dozens of events throughout the week, including performances by military bands, naturalization ceremonies for service members to become U.S. citizens, visits to local schools by military personnel including Navy SEALs, beach Olympic events, and a 5K run. Some of the ships visiting Miami will be open to the public for tours throughout this week, the Navy said.

By Monday evening, Navy sailors in white dress uniforms and Marines in blue were scattered across downtown Miami, soaking up the city’s tropical atmosphere.

Marine Col. David Ickles, commander of the 10th Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, who is in charge of all Marines participating in Fleet Week, said it was the first time for most of his troops to visit Miami.

“We have a lot of fun activities for Marines and Sailors,” Ickles said. “It’s an exciting opportunity. I think they’re pretty excited to be here.”

Ickles said he hopes Miamians can take some inspiration from the military members visiting their city.

“As I interact with the Marines and Sailors who support Fleet Week, I hope they truly understand how amazing these young men and women are who stepped forward to answer the call to serve,” he said. said. “We have people from all over the country and from all walks of life coming together to form a team. It’s a great team.”



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