Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima arrived in the Big Apple on Memorial Day weekend to kick off the 17th annual Fleet Week celebration for the U.S. Navy – and New York was ready.
Once safely moored, approximately 4,000 sailors aboard 12 U.S. Atlantic Fleet and U.S. Coast Guard vessels poured into downtown Manhattan from Pier 88 and Staten Island – many of them for the first time.
On Sunday evening the ship conducted a Sunset Parade on the flight deck featuring demonstrations by the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, musical performances from the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and Honor Legion of the Police Department, City of New York. The performances and hangar bay reception following were both grand successes.
“It was an amazing New York welcome,” said the ship’s Commander Thomas McDonough. “Considering Iwo Jima’s maiden, eight-month deployment – from Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom to Joint Task Force Liberia – Fleet Week serves as a meaningful testament to the phenomenal performance of this crew,” he added. “Conversely, it gives New York a chance to see just what a great job the men and women of USS Iwo Jima are doing.” ♦