Fleet Week and the USS Kearsarge – Part 1

Memorial Day weekend always marks NYC’s Fleet Week where New York is visited by Navy ships and sailors and Marines are spotted everywhere. It reminds you how casual the city is and how grimy the streets are when you see the sailors in their blinding white uniforms.

This year, the City was visited by the USS Kearsarge, a helicopter/Osprey/Harrier carrier. As Navy carriers go, it’s no Nimitz-class ship; but it is big. Baby, it is big!  (844 feet long and 106 wide.)

Even the entrance-way is huge. Forgive my poor picture taking. There’s just no way to do justice to this ship without special equipment and a lot more talent than I have.

Getting in was a little tough. The ship was all the way on the West Side at 12th Avenue. You had to go through security and their metal detectors seemed to be pretty sensitive. At least I didn’t go when it was really busy as I had to go through it three times. The last time I removed a nickel and two pennies from my pocket. That seemed to do the trick.

Once inside, it’s a whole world in there. They were all set up to give us a song and dance. Fortunately, there was no singing nor dancing. The crew was on their very best behavior. Everyone was unfailingly polite, courteous, and friendly.

Note the circular items on the floor/deck. They were everywhere. I found a crew member and asked about them. They are tie-down sites. Apparently they can be easily raised and used to secure anything and everything in the event of heavy seas.

They had lots and lots of weapons and equipment out for public inspection and the like. Look at this place. It’s huge, even though it is just an entryway to the downstairs/below area of even more stuff. That’s a ramp at the middle front of the picture and even it has tie down points. They are everywhere.

The Kearsarge is an amphibeous assault ship, in addition to its carrier duties. That meant there were boats within the ship. And there were a number of these boats. Some may have been ships.

This young man appears to be getting educated and maybe recruited. There was a virtual reality training system that he was testing out. It looked pretty cool.

And by amphibeous assault craft, we mean this guy. Big. Wow, it was big. If it didn’t have the weirdest ramp for getting into it, you’d think in was part of the carrier. It was that big. I think everyone had trouble getting up that ramp. It seemed designed to require the stiffest shoe soles that you could imagine. It was all about traction for the vehicles that would be loaded/offloaded from the craft.

Here’s another shot from the inside. You know what those fans mean? I think it means I was on a hovercraft.

They are proud of their work. Here’s their patch: Amphibeous Work Horse of the Fleet – Assault Craft Unit Two.

My next post will take us up onto the flight deck. That and a little bit more was the highlight of the visit.

The Kearsarge appears to be the only one of the ships that gave tours. There were a couple of cruisers (or whatever) docked nearby.

-H

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Explore posts in the same categories: Events, Manhattan, Mid-town, Wanderings

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