Story by Cpl Gabrielle Quire on 10/18/2016
Commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North Lt. Gen. Rex C. McMillian attended San Francisco's 36th annual Fleet Oct. 4-10, 2016. In the commander's remarks, he spoke about Fleet Week's ability to build strong ties in the local community and this year's Marine Corps Reserve Centennial, a celebration commemorating the heritage and contributions of reserve Marines, past and present. The week-long event gives local residents a chance to learn about the America's sea services and those who serve in the military.
Some of Fleet Week's major performances included the Parade of Ships, a time-honored tradition where a line of naval ships such as the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22), guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mellon (WHEC 717) and Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Calgary (FFH 335), sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and past the waterfront area. The USS San Diego, USS Mobile Bay, USCGC Mellon, HMCS Calgary and San Francisco Fire Boat 3 were all part of the parade. Another high profile event was performed by the Blue Angels Navy flight demonstration squadron during the air show, where they conducted fast-paced, high-performance maneuvers, exhibiting the refined skills possessed by all naval aviators.
Another prominent Marine Corps Reservist, former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who served in the Marine Corps Reserve during World War II and was the honorary Officer of the Day, spoke at a ceremony held at Union Square. The event included performances by the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and the 1st Marine Division Band.
"It's Fleet Week and I'm proud to be a Marine," said Shultz in his opening speech during the ceremony.
Fleet Week allows the public to meet Marines and Sailors, many who are reservists and are already embedded in their local community through work or volunteering. It also provides an opportunity for the Navy and Marine Corps to showcase their capabilities and an for service members to meet and thank the community for its support.
"We need to realize how big of a role the United States plays in the world, and one of those reasons is because we have first class military people," said Shultz. "You realize it when you come and meet them."
For the past 36 years in the month of October, Marines and Sailors have visited San Francisco for the much-anticipated Fleet Week. It has become a significant and integral part of the city's local culture and economy due to the large crowds the Navy and Marine Corps team draws into the Bay Area. CBS San Francisco reported the event generates more than $10 million in revenue for the city.