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Fleet Week Ships Arrive in New York City for 'Parade of Sail'

By Paul Lomax | May 23, 2012 12:06pm

MANHATTAN — Fleet Week kicked off Wednesday morning when military ships from the around the world cruised up the Hudson River with hundreds of service men and women aboard from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

The "Parade of Sail," part of the 25th annual event, featured dozens of "tall ships" sailing alongside military vessels to commemorate of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

The flotilla set sail up the Hudson River toward the George Washington Bridge, where the ships turned south to head back to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum to anchor.

Marianne Barns, 52, and daughter Kim Barns, 18, were enjoying the warm weather by the Hudson River Wednesday morning as they watched the vessels pass by.

"This is great," the mother said. "It's the first time I've seen the ships sail in, as we're normally away for the Memorial Day holiday."

Her daughter, a medical student, beamed as the ships came in.

"My grandfather was a World War II veteran, so for me to see this procession of our sailors is really special," she said. "I'm very proud of all of them."

Nine vessels — including the USS Wasp, USS Roosevelt, USCGC Eagle, USS Mitscher, USS Gonzalez, USS San Jacinto, USS Donald Cook, USCGC Willow and USCGC Seneca — arrived via New York Harbor Wednesday morning. 

Also joining the fleet were service men and women from other allied naval forces, including personnel from the British Royal Navy vessel RFA Argus, the Canadian ship HMCS Iroquois, the JS Shirane from Japan, and the FNS Pohjanmaa from Finland.

Among the tall ships that began the "Parade of Sails" were Gloria (Colombia), Tall Ship Guayas (Ecuador), Tall Ship Dewaruci (Indonesia), Tall Ship Cisne Branco (Brazil), Tall Ship Juan Sebastian De Elcano (Spain), Tall Ships La Belle Poule and Etoile (France), and Tall Ship Buque Escuela ArmCuauhetmoc (Mexico).

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will be hosting Fleet Week events from May 23-28, including as athletic challenges between groups of visiting members of the armed forces, military displays and demonstrations, culminating with a special Memorial Day ceremony.