NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Well hello, sailor! The 28th annual Fleet Week kicked off today in New York City.Dr. Howard Zucker Stepping Down As New York State Health Commissioner
The parade of ships started sailing down the Hudson River on Wednesday morning.
Harlem military mom Irene Kaalund and her daughter Kyla were waiting to catch a glimpse of Kaalund’s son – Lance Corporal Sean Berry – who enlisted in the Marines nearly two years ago at age 17.
“These kids are out here giving their all,” Kaalund told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.
The public can get an up close and personal look at exactly that over the next week – with special events and ship tours – all to celebrate the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
Several ships will be docked in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island for the festivities. Among them include the Katherine Walker which will be docked at Pier 86 in Manhattan.
“The crew is really excited,” Chief Warrant Officer Robert Nichols, of the U.S. Coast Guard, said. “A good majority of our crew is from this area, so it’s special to them. It’s special to all of us.”
The USS Bataan, a U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship will be docked at Pier 88S, 1010 WINS Al Jones reported. Other ships include the USS Shamal, the HMCS Kingston and the USS Fort McHenry.
CBS2’s Meg Baker got a special tour of the USS Bataan. To get to the ship, Baker and her crew had to fly with safety gear on.
They were loaded into a helicopter and safely landed on the amphibious assault ship – in town from Norfolk, Virginia.
“Welcome to New York Fleet Week. This is an opportunity for the Navy to come into New York and do an outreach; kind of get to know local people,” said Admiral Roy Kelly.
More than 30 of the sailors onboard the ship are locals themselves.
“Love to see mom and pop,” said Aaron Mull of Brooklyn. “It’s always nice to show them what I do.”
“They’re ready to see the ship. They’re super-excited. They want to come onboard. They’ve never seen a ship before. I’m like one of the only military members in the family. So they’re like ecstatic: ‘Yes! We want to come!’” said Jessica Lopez of Roosevelt.
Avery Woods was looking forward to sleeping in his own bed for a while in Astoria, Queens. His daughter will also be there to greet him.READ MORE: Judge Lifts Temporary Pause On Vaccine Mandate For NYC Teachers, Who Now Must Be Vaccinated By Monday
“I’m on the bottom rack – it’s not the most fun,” Woods said.
The USS Bataan can house more than 3,000 sailors and Marines.
“It’s kind of like a home away from home,” said Miguel Velazquez of East New York, Brooklyn.
As the ship cruised closer to port, the Marines in their royal blue and the sailors in their Navy whites saluted Lady Liberty.
Brittany Hendricks from Queens gave CBS2’s Baker a tour of the massive ship. After four years onboard, she is reenlisting.
“There’s a ceremony at 9/11 Memorial for me, and I’m glad that my family’s going to be there,” she said.
There was a final salute as the USS Bataan cruised in docked next to the Intrepid. The servicemembers said they are looking forward to their time on leave in the Big Apple.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond also got a tour of the USS Bataan. She learned what some of the service men and women were looking forward to most on their trip to New York.
“Definitely a pepperoni slice, it’s not the same anywhere else and it’s got to be the water or something — but I just can’t wait to get into that,” 3rd Class Petty Officer Mutis Cappizzi, of the Bronx, said. “There’s no place like home, no place like New York.”
In all, about 4,500 Navy, Marines and Coast Guard personnel are participating this year.
“I’m from Detroit, Michigan. I gotta say New York is my second favorite city — I love coming to Fleet Week,” Brian McNeal, a Petty Officer 1st Class in the U.S. Navy, said. “It’s just great to walk down the street — people are like ‘hey thank you for your service.’ It feels really good. It makes you really appreciate what it is you do.”
For Kyla Berry, whose brother is a Marine, it’s a chance to spend time with her brother, who she hasn’t seen in about six months.
“I didn’t expect him to do it but he did it,” Berry said.
Events will continue through Memorial Day weekend and include food and drink specials, free tours and a special screening of “Top Gun” at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.MORE NEWS: NYPD: Search Continues For Man Seen On Video Slashing Bronx Restaurant Worker