USMMA Joins Both Fleet Week and OpSail 2012

US Merchant Marine Academy

Seventeen tall ships from around the world sailed past the New Jersey and Manhattan waterfronts, followed by 10 warships both domestic and foreign on Wednesday, May 23 to kick off Fleet Week and OpSail. Military aircraft sailed overhead streaming streams of red, white, and blue as thousands of viewers took to the piers to catch a glimpse of history as it passed through New York City traveling north up the Hudson, launching the festivities for both OpSail 2012 and Fleet Week.

Fleet Week began in 1984 to celebrate the U.S. Navy and Marines Corps with a week of ship visitations and military demonstrations. A military flyover on Memorial Day completes the celebration to honor those killed while serving in the military. Operation Sail is a non-profit organization dedicated to sail-training and promoting goodwill among nations. Through the production of international tall ship events, OpSail strives to commemorate American maritime history.

“This was a larger Fleet Week than we’ve seen in decades,” said Dr. Kumar, acting superintendent and academic dean of U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. “OpSail is only held during special events, like the millennium in 2000 and this year’s historical 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the writing of The Star Spangled Banner. We were honored and proud that Christopher Gasiorek, our sailing master and his crew participated with our training vessels in both events.”

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy training vessels LIBERATOR and SUMMERWINDS joined the Parade of Ships from around the world at this year’s New York Fleet Week and OpSail 2012’s Parade of Ships. Joining the U.S. Coast Guard as the only organization to be represented in both fleets, Kings Point midshipmen and staff manned the rails dressed in whites to render honors to the World Trade Center site, the USS INTREPID, and to dip the ensign in salute to Captain Gary Boardman, U.S. Navy, Class of ’85, commanding officer of the USS WASP, the largest vessel in the parade. 

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