Fleet Week offers weekend treat on San Francisco waterfront

Week-long event includes Blue Angels, Pier 39 concerts, ship parade, tours

San Francisco's annual Fleet Week offers a special day-long get-away for Pleasantono residents this weekend as the show continues on the city's waterfront.

The six-day event that ends next Tuesday is filled with free activities including Blue Angels air shows, Pier 39 concerts, a parade of ships and ship tours.

"It's such a Bay Area tradition," Fleet Week spokeswoman Mary Hickey said. "It's a sign of fall."

This year's highlights include a focus on disaster preparedness and the Navy's "green ship," a hybrid vessel that runs on both gas and electricity.

The 840-foot long USS Makin Island, an amphibious aircraft carrier, is the first military hybrid vessel.

"It's the most environmentally aware, energy efficient Naval ship in the world," Fleet Week spokesman David Perry said. "We're pretty excited about it."

The USS Makin Island uses a gas turbine engine and an electrically powered auxiliary propulsion motor. It is most fuel efficient at speeds above 12 knots.

Perry said the ship utilizes cutting-edge technology, and that this type of ship is the way of the future.

This year, hundreds of sailors and Marines will participate in emergency preparedness training alongside members of the City's CERT, or Community Emergency Preparedness Teams, and NERT, or Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams, groups.

"The ongoing mission of Fleet Week is to encourage emergency preparedness," Perry said.

Fleet Week also serves to raise awareness for recruiting purposes and is an opportunity to honor those in the military, Hickey said.

Hickey also said that Fleet Week is an opportunity for people to be entertained and have a good time. An estimated 1 million people watch the air shows, she said.

Parking in the area is extremely limited. Attendees are strongly advised to take public transportation, bicycle or taxi.

Tomorrow, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will naturalize eight military members on the flight deck of U.S.S. Pinckney, (DDG-91). The ship is the 13th Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. It's the namesake of Navy Cook Third Class William Pinckney, who was awarded the prestigious Navy Cross for rescuing a crewmember on the USS Enterprise during the Battle of Santa Cruz.

Three of the new citizens come from the Philippines, with one each from the Ivory Coast, Peru, South Korea, El Salvador and Germany. Military services represented at this ceremony are the Army Reserve and the Coast Guard.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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