FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — As the two Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers headed out to the Atlantic and away from Fort Lauderdale, it marked the end of a successful return to Fleet Week Port Everglades.
Following a two-year hiatus due to the Coronavirus, the city embraced the return of Fleet Week. Nearly 40 events were scheduled throughout the event to enable service members to interact with local residents and thousands of people toured USS Lassen (DDG 82) and USS Delbert Black (DDG 119) during the week-long festivities.
“It was so nice to have the Sailors back in person this year,” said J.W. Arnold, the Executive Director of Broward Navy Days, the organization that helps plan and host Fleet Week Port Everglades. “This event is always our way of expressing appreciation for our military services, and it is easily the highlight of our year!”
From the “All Hands Welcome” with city leaders the first day to the inaugural Beach Olympics the last and with receptions for every level of service member in between, the team worked hard to ensure a good time for their military guests.
“We had the best time with the people of Fort Lauderdale,” said Ensign John McCoy of the USS Delbert Black, and a first-time visitor to any Fleet Week. “They showed us how great their city is, and it was humbling to see how appreciated we are in a military city like this.”
In return, the various military commands worked to repay the hospitality through Navy Band Southeast concerts, community relations projects, and the “Admiral’s Reception” aboard USS Lassen.
Other highlights from the 32nd Fleet Week Port Everglades included a “Spirit of America” concert with the Navy Band performing with other groups from the area, a Navy League Enlisted Person of the Year award dinner, a “Salute to Veterans” ceremony, complimentary deep sea fishing opportunities for the service members, and a Military Night at a Florida Marlins game and much more.
“We are already working on ways to make next year even better,” Arnold said. “The community has such a tremendous history and relationship with the military, and we are so very, very grateful for what they do.”
Fleet Weeks are designed to show Americans the investment they have made in their Navy and increase the awareness of the Navy’s role and purpose in our national defense.