San Francisco Fleet Week: 5-10 October 2006

Photos taken on 7 October 2006 by Neil Mishalov

Photographs were taken with a Canon 20D camera and a Canon EF 70-300mm<2><3> lens

Images and Text Copyright © Neil Mishalov


San Francisco Fleet Week Kicks Off With Parade of Ships

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Katherine Sanchez, San Francisco Fleet Week Command Information Bureau

Story Number: NNS061008-05

Release Date: 10/8/2006 5:09:00 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (NNS) -- Thousands of spectators gathered along the embarcadero and Marina Green Oct. 7 to view the annual parade of ships, kicking off San Francisco Fleet Week 2006.

The flotilla of Navy vessels highlighting the event included the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS Higgins (DDG76) and USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53). U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC 623) also participated in the procession.

Nimitz arrived with complete air wing aboard, offering onlookers the unique opportunity to watch two F/A-18 Hornets launch and streak across the San Francisco skyline.

Rear Adm. Terry Blake, commander, Carrier Strike Group 11, said events like the parade of ships offer the public a glimpse of what the military is capable of and what they are doing around the world.

“If you look at the total number of people in the service, both on active duty and in the reserves, we are a very small percentage of the population, but we are a very critical piece,” Blake said. “That’s why I think it’s important that people know that we’re out there and we’re doing great things. I think that you will find, particularly in this time with the global war on terror, that the American people are appreciative of what these people are doing.”

The parade of ships marks the beginning of the weeklong celebration of the sea services. In addition to the parade of ships, Sailors will offer residents and visitors to the waterfront shipboard tours, live music performances and flight demonstrations by the Blue Angels.

For some though, the Parade of Ships is the highlight of the annual event established in 1981 by then Mayor Dianne Feinstein.

“One of the things that inspired me to join the Navy was watching the ships pull in,” said Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Andrew Coats. “The presence of the Sailors and the display of power were so impressive that I joined the Navy less than a year later.”

Carey Wilkinson, a resident of San Francisco, has enjoyed the event every year for the past six years.

“Every year it’s very exciting to see all the ships and Sailors at Fleet Week,” said Wilkinson. "The capabilities and technology the Navy has are very impressive and not something we see everyday in San Francisco.”

In addition to planned activities to increase awareness of the sea services, some of the more than 7,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen in San Francisco for Fleet Week will participate in community service projects ranging from building homes with Habitat for Humanity to working with children at the California School for the Deaf.

The USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) is a amphibious assault ship. The primary mission of the ship is to embark, deploy and land elements of a Marine landing force in amphibious assault operations by helicopter, landing craft, amphibious vehicle or any combination of these means.

"Bonhomme Richard" is French for "Good Man Richard." In 1779, John Paul Jones gave the first famous ship this name in honor of Benjamin Franklin, in reference to his "Poor Richard's Almanak." The Bonhomme Richard today is the third ship to bear the name. Bonhomme Richard was uniquely designed to support assault from the sea against defended positions ashore. She is able to sail in harm's way and provide a rapid buildup of combat power ashore in the face of opposition.

In the panoramic photo below, the land mass behind the stern of the ship is part of the southern portion of Angel Island. Angel Island had a US Army presence from 1863, the time of the American Civil War, through 1962; a period of 99 years. The last military use of Angel Island was as a US Army NIKE MISSILE BASE (SF-91). The Nike missile was a liquid fueled, surface to air defensive armament. Begining in 1954, during the Cold War, Nike missile launching facilities were constructed and located in 12 different locations around the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The missile bases were under the command of the Sixth Army Air Defense Command. So, the Nike missile base LAUNCHING PAD on Angel Island, was located on that part of the Island which is visible just to the left of the helicopter on the stern of the ship.

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The USS Chafee (DDG-90) is a guided missile destroyer. The USS Chafee (DDG-90) is the fortieth destroyer of the Arleigh Burke class and is named after Senator John Hubbard Chafee of Providence Rhode Island, who distinguished himself as a veteran of Guadalcanal with service as both an enlisted man and commissioned officer. USS Chafee's keel was laid on 5 May 2001, and was then commissioned on 18 October 2003. She now serves in the Pacific Fleet and makes her homeport in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

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The venerable and much beloved Liberty ship, SS Jeremiah O'Brien. She was launched 19 June 1943 at New England Shipbuilding Corporation, South Portland, Maine. In the below panoramic photo she is steaming adjacent to Alcatraz Island. Her permanent home port is now Pier 45, at Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, California. Here are MORE PICTURES of the Jeremiah O'Brien which I took while cruising on the ship on 17 May 2003. ANGEL ISLAND is in the background.

One of two surviving Liberty ships preserved in the United States, Jeremiah O'Brien is the last unaltered Liberty ship. The ship is the result of an emergency shipbuilding program of World War II, that resulted in the construction of more than 2,700 Liberty ships. Designed as cheap, and quickly built, cargo steamers, the Liberty ships formed the backbone of a massive sealift of troops, arms, material, and ordnance to every theater of the war. SS Jeremiah O'Brien made wartime voyages between the east coast, Canada, and the United Kingdom, to South America, Australia, and the Philippines. From June until December 1944, SS Jeremiah O'Brien made 11 trips between the United Kingdom and Normandy in support of the D-Day invasion, including a trip from Belfast, Ireland, to Normandy with troops from Patton's Fifth Division.

Laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay in California, SS Jeremiah O'Brien was set aside by the United States Maritime Administration in 1966 as the Liberty to be saved for future preservation. The ship was taken out of mothballs in 1979 and restored to operating condition. She is open to the public 359 days a year at Pier 45 in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf as a museum vessel, and makes memorial cruises annually in May and October. She operates her triple expansion steam engines dockside nine times a year. In 1994, Jeremiah O'Brien gained world attention when she steamed back to the Normandy invasion beaches to participate in ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of D-Day -- the only U.S. veteran D-Day ship present at the anniversay celebration.

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Click on an image to see the full size picture

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USS Chaffe (DDG-90), a guided missile destroyer sailing in front of Alcatraz Island USS Higgins (DDG-76), a guided missile destroyer Coast Guard Cutter Dorado (WPB 87306), stationed at Crecent City, California
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Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC 623), launched in 1968, now stationed at Astoria, Oregon USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), an amphibious assault ship A California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) checking out the commotion
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USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), a guided missile destroyer Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC-64). Alcatraz Island is in the background Hello
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Hi Stunt pilot flying in front of the Golden Gate Bridge Flying between the pylons
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San Francisco police vessel
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Note the crew member manning a machine gun in the bow of the vessel Pelican's watching all of the activity Coit Tower sitting on top of San Francisco's Telegraph Hill. if you look closely, you can see the USS Pampanito (SS-383), a WWII Balao class submarine, docked in the foreground
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The upper plane is a F-86 Saber, a fighter jet used during the Korean War. The lower plane is an A-10 Warthog, a current production jet used for close air support of ground troops The A-10 is going straight up
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A San Francisco fireboat The Blue Angels C-130T (know as Fat Albert) support plane. This is the only Marine Corps aircraft permanently assigned to support a Navy squadron. Thanks to Colin McManus for identifying the plane The C-130T coming in over Alcatraz Island. Mount Caroline Livermore (781 feet), on Angel Island, is in the background
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Ok, here come the Blue Angel pilots' flying Boeing F/A-18 Hornets Close call! Mount Tamalpais in the background
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Flying upside down Coming in over the Golden Gate Bridge
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Landing gear extended
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Moving fast
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That's all folks!

Additional digital photos GO HERE

Korean-Japanese photos from 1968 GO HERE

My return to Korea in October, 2003 GO HERE

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This page created on 5 November 2006. All photographs copyright 2006, by NEIL MISHALOV