Wednesday, April 28, 2010
20th Anniversary Fleet Port Everglades Week Begins
Port Everglades April 27, 2010 - More than 2,500 American Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and German Sailors arrived in Port Everglades April 26 to participate in the 20th Anniversary Fleet Week Port Everglades, Fla.
Guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) led USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Newport News (SSN 750), USS Halyburton (FFG 40), USCGC Key Biscayne (WPB 1339) and German multipurpose frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) into the port.
Marine Staff Sgt. Michael Bower stood by as the ships moored and said he gets excited about seeing the military interact with communities.
"This is my third fleet week, but it is my first in the Fort Lauderdale area; so I am really excited to get out in the community and represent the Marine Corps," said Bower. "We have a way of impacting people, and that's a cool feeling."
Weather was not the typical sunny Florida day, but a sudden deluge of wind and rain didn't keep Sailors like Cryptologic Technician Technical 1st Class (SW/AW) Mavis Milligan from Porter from being excited about being in the area which is also her home.
"It feels awesome to be here at home where my family can see what I do," said Milligan. "I can't wait to take my family aboard my ship to show them around and introduce them to my friends and coworkers."
The weather was a hard hit to the day but Sailors said the "All Hands on Deck Welcoming Party" at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino more than made up for it.
At the Welcoming Ceremony, Sailors were formally welcomed to the city by the Mayor of Ft. Lauderdale John P. Seiler .
"On behalf of the city of Ft. Lauderdale let me welcome you," said Seiler.
The opening ceremony was not only the official kick off for Fleet Week Port Everglades but also a time to welcome and recognize everyone involved.
"It's fantastic, I mean it's a chance to hear from Admiral Howard, Admiral Alexander, some of the other folks here. Obviously a huge number of supporters here and organizations that put forth a lot of effort to make sure that this port visit is going to be a success and that our sailors are really going to enjoy themselves," said Cmdr. Kent Coleman, commanding officer of Independence.
More than 2,500 American service members and German sailors, will participate in a number of community outreach activities and enjoy the hospitality and tourism of South Florida for a full week.