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SEATTLE - Amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) and guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92) departed the Port of Seattle Aug. 5, bringing the 69th annual Seafair Fleet Week officially to a close.
The annual event, which began June 31, kicked off with a parade of U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy ships in Elliott Bay featuring amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92), U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mellon (WHEC-717), U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Swordfish (WPB-87358), Kingston-class coastal defence vessel HMCS Yellowknife (706) and Kingston-class coastal defence vessel HMCS Whitehorse (710).
Marines from the 1st Marine Division joined Sailors aboard Somerset and Momsen in conducting public ship tours at Pier 90, while Royal Canadian Navy Sailors hosted tours of Yellowknife and Whitehorse at Pier 69. In total, more than 5,500 visitors toured the warships.
Throughout the week, U.S. and Canadian service members, Marines and Coast Guardsman engaged with Seattleites through several community outreach events, including ship tours, community service projects, environmental educational displays, hospital visits and performances from Navy Band Northwest and the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels.
“I always look forward to seeing Sailors out on the town this time of year. We are extremely proud of the work they do. As someone who served, I know the sacrifice they make,” said Wes Robertson, a Seattle resident. “I served in my country, so I feel a bond with the service members, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to show them how much we love them.”
Another highlight of Seafair Fleet Week was the Seattle Rotary Club hosting a luncheon, featuring a women-in-leadership panel discussion, attended by hundreds of the Seattle area’s most influential business and community leaders, military flag officers and their spouses, aides and command master chiefs from throughout the region, honoring contributions of women in leadership and highlighting their journeys of persistence and resiliency.
“Women have been serving in nuclear-powered submarines since 2009," said Rear Adm. Blake Converse, commander, Submarine Group Nine. "We’re going to have our first commanding officer sometime in the next seven years, I believe, so probably before 2025, I would guess. We have women now serving in both the enlisted ranks and officer ranks on every one of the types of submarines that we operate. The opportunities are there, and we are going to continue to expand. I’m very excited and the quality of the women is fantastic.”
Seafair Fleet Week also provided representatives from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Washington State National Guard, as well as federal and state emergency service agencies, with the opportunity to participate in a Defense Support of Civilian Authorities senior leadership seminar.
“I would encourage to build these relationships,” said Rear Adm. David Throop, commander of U.S. Coast Guard 13th District, during the opening remarks of the seminar. “It’s good to do it while the lights are on and we have electricity because after an event like this we’re not going to have these things, so ask the questions you need and build these strong partnerships.”
The seminar was based on several emergency response strategies, including operational communications, public health and medical services, mass care services, situational assessment, critical transportation, public information and dissemination strategies, incident action planning, services and resources, mass search and rescue operations, and on-scene security and protection.
“I just want to say that I think this is a whole new level,” said Rear Adm. Darren Hanson, deputy commander of U.S. Third Fleet, at the conclusion of the seminar. “These were great discussions in here. I want to say thanks for what you’re doing here and moving the ball forward, and on behalf of Third Fleet, please keep it up.”
Thousands also gathered at Genesee Park and Lake Washington over the weekend for the Boeing Air Show and Albert Lee Appliance Cup, Seafair Fleet Week's culminating event. With demonstrations from the US Navy Blue Angels, US Air Force, US Coast Guard and more, displaying precise, split-second maneuvers that serve as example of the dedication and discipline associated with military service.
The Navy’s first Fleet Week was hosted by San Diego in 1935 and has expanded to New York City, Portland, Oregon, San Francisco and Port Everglades, Florida.
The Emerald City has hosted Seafair Fleet Week on its waterfront since 1950, celebrating the courageous men and women who serve our country.