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Thousands Flock to USS Intrepid for Fleet Week Festivities

By Paul Lomax | May 26, 2012 3:35pm
Sailors from the Ecuadorean Navy vessel the
Sailors from the Ecuadorean Navy vessel the "Buque Escuela" enjoy Fleet Week in New York on May 26th, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Paul Lomax

Thousands of people flocked to the USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum today to kick start this weekend's Memorial Day celebrations during the week-long 25th Annual Fleet week.

Basking in summer temperatures visitors to the Museum on Pier 86 enjoyed the annual Tug of War competition held with the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Coast Guard and visiting Navies from around the world.

This years competition saw teams from the U.S. Armed Forces, the Finnish Royal Navy, Japanese and Ecuadorean Navies take up the strain on the deck of the Intrepid.

The eventual winner of this years tournament was the Finnish team from the FNS Pohjanmaa who defeated the U.S. Coast Guard Eagle team.

Lieutenant Henri Rione, who led the winning team, was overjoyed with his their emphatic victory.

"We used the minimum effort to get the maximum result. It was a great victory and I'm very proud of my men," he said.

Among the visitors was Boy Scout of America Tommy Mollo, 10, from Germantown, N.Y., who came to cheer on the U.S. Army tug-of-war team.

"They lost but it was great fun to watch," said Mollo. "I'm still real proud of them and when I grow up I want to be an Army soldier."

Also enjoying the day's events was Captian America himself (his alter ego is named David Santiago, of New York) proudly donning the popular bright-blue costume despite the sweltering morning heat.

He said, "I'm here to support the real heroes of our country. The men and women of the US Armed Forces and our allies from around the world."

A group of Ecuadorean sailors sailed into New York to enjoy their first Fleet Week and several told DNAinfo.com New York that they were having a great time in the Big Apple.

"It's our first time in New York City and we're loving it" said N.Pita, one of the sailors. "It's such a fun place and everyone is being really nice to us."

Fleet Week is America's annual tribute event to honor and pay thanks to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.