FORT LAUDERDALE — Fleet Week is back! The festivities kicked off on Sunday with an All Hands on Deck Welcoming Party and Concert featuring Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and sea cadets at the Las Olas Oceanside Park.
The fun lasts all week long following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s great to be able to continue this tradition, especially after three years off,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Menoni, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Two. “Besides the great beaches and food, this is an opportunity for our Sailors to connect with the local population, to share stories. It’s an opportunity for the public to tour our ships and meet the men and women of the U.S. Navy, who will soon be at sea over the horizon in harm’s way, protecting us from our adversaries.”
The visiting ships include two U.S. Navy destroyers, the USS Lassen (DDG-82) and USS Delbert Black (DDG-119) and USCGC William Flores (WPC-1103). The Lassen and Delbert Black are both Arleigh Burke-class destroyers based at Mayport Naval Station and the William Flores is a Fast Response Coast Guard Cutter from Miami.
“This is a way to give back to our community,” explained U.S. Navy Capt. Gregory Smith. “When us Sailors are truly at work, we’re at sea for weeks or months at a time. So to be back here in Fort Lauderdale for Fleet Week, it’s special. This is our chance to really connect with the people of South Florida.”
Fleet Week Port Everglades has been hosted by Broward Navy Days and other military support organizations since 1990. It provides an opportunity of the citizens of South Florida to witness first-hand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services and gain a better understanding of how the sea services support maritime strategy and national defense of the U.S.