Navy to send only one ship for annual parade

Blame it on the wars, drugs and pirates — the Navy is only sending one ship to San Francisco for this year’s Parade of Ships.
This year, the 360-crew USS Green Bay will be the only Navy vessel to participate in the annual Parade of Ships during Fleet Week. In previous years, the Navy has sent at least two ships, and just a few years ago sent six — bringing thousands of sailors into The City for the annual event.

Navy vessels are in high demand right now, and ships that have visited The City in years past are currently deployed to the Middle East, working off the coast of Somalia protecting boats from pirates and helping the U.S. Coast Guard with anti-narcotics operations, said Terry Rhedin, spokeswoman for the U.S. Third Fleet in San Diego.

In 2006, the Navy sent a veritable flotilla of vessels to participate in Fleet Week’s annual Parade of Ships, including a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, an assault ship, a guided missile cruiser and three guided missile destroyers.

In total, just four vessels will participate in the annual Parade of Ships this year. The Green Bay, a brand new warship, will travel from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to San Francisco for the event. The only other ship to travel to The City for the event is the HMCS Edmonton, a Canadian coastal defense vessel with a complement of 37 sailors.

Also parading will be the CGS Boutwell, a U.S. Coast Guard ship that is homeported in Alameda, and the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, a retired World War II liberty ship that now docks at Pier 45.

When asked whether the reduction in Navy ships had anything to do with Supervisor Chris Daly proposing a ban on the Blue Angels in 2007, a move that was backed by anti-war organizations, U.S. Third Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Commander Sarah Self-Kyler said it did not.

“Not at all,” she said. “The decision is based on operational assets that are available. If we have ships available and San Francisco has requested ships to support Fleet Week, we’ll do the best we can. But right now, we’ve got a lot of ships deployed.”

Self-Kyler said it wasn’t even easy to commit the USS Green Bay to the festivities this year.

“We worked really hard to make even that happen,” she said. “But we did it because it’s important to ensure the American public can see their ships and meet their sailors and marines.”

 

Boats on display

Navy ships that have come to Fleet Week in past years are now deployed around the world.

2006

Nimitz: Aircraft carrier, deployed to Mideast

Princeton: Guided missile cruiser, in San Diego for maintenance

Chafee: Guided missile destroyer, recently returned from deployment

Higgins: Destroyer, now deployed to Mideast

John Paul Jones: Guided missile destroyer, now deployed in the Indian Ocean

Bonhomme Richard: Amphibious assault ship, deployed in the Western Pacific

2007

Vandegrift: Frigate, training in Southern California

Shoup: Destroyer, currently in maintenance

2008

Bonhomme Richard: Amphibious assault ship, deployed in the Western Pacific

Pinckney: Destroyer, deployed to Mideast

2009

Green Bay: An amphibious transport dock, has a complement of 1,260 — of which only about 400 will attend Fleet Week

Source: US Navy

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