Throughout the city, San Franciscans took in the annual sight of the
U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels, an elite fleet of aircraft that visit the Bay
Area during Fleet Week.
The weeklong event, which occurred from October 5-12, offered events
ranging from air shows, to ship tours, to the eponymous Fleet Fest,
which brings “over 900 sailors and ‘coasties’ to the Dogpatch
neighborhood,” according to the official website.
The Blue Angels are just one of a multitude of military and
historical events available during Fleet Week. The Angels, a flight
squadron that tours the country demonstrating the prowess of the US
Navy, was formed in 1946. The fleet of 6 aircraft reach speeds of
roughly 700 miles per hours, just under Mach 1. The planes that fly in
said demonstrations are in fact combat ready, save for a few minor
changes that make them safer to fly in civilian areas.
“Fighter jets and military grade boats sitting in the harbor, looking
intimidating, are my favorite part of Fleet Week,” said senior Kyle
Jacobson, “I love the display of crazy engineering. I grew up in
Northern Calif., so I grew up seeing the Blue Angels a lot.”
Fleet Week took place in two separate locations: the first, Marina
Green, where the Marina Green Festival and Humanitarian Village are
located. This Northern ocean-side pier is traditionally packed with tens
of thousands of attendees, who flock to the “interactive demonstration
of US Military and Civil capabilities in responding to a disaster,”
again according to the official website.
Sponsored by the Center for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster
Response, participants were encouraged to delve deeper into the four
themes of the event: Mass Care and Shelter, Power and Utilities,
Community Response and Rescue, and Environmental Management and
Decontamination. Beyond that, city-dwellers and tourists alike gathered
to eat food, watch the air shows, and meet sailors. Marina Green is also
a prime location to watch the parade of ships as they sail under the
Golden Gate Bridge and beyond, led by the San Francisco Fire Department
The second Fleet Week location, Pier 80 in Bayview, allowed attendees
to tour the actual ships, including the USS Somerset, the USS
Stockdale, the USS Coronado, and the USCGC Boutwell. Participants who
made the trek to this south-city pier were also rewarded with live music
and Off the Grid food trucks. The general atmosphere on Friday evening
seemed to be one of camaraderie and celebration.
Senior politics major Ryland Stevenson, who attended for his third
year in a row, said his experience was “getting better and better.”
Stevenson, from Manhattan, grew up attending New York City’s Fleet Week
as a child. He said the California version differs in that it has a more
relaxed and celebratory atmosphere: “New York is more patriotic, and
more touristy. Everything is a little more formal.”
San Francisco Fleet Week, which started in 1981, is a just a few
years older than the East Coast version, which commenced in 1984.
For more information: Fleetweeksf.org