NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Fleet Week New York 2023 officially kicked off Wednesday morning with the ceremonial Parade of Ships.
NewsCopter 7 was overhead as the first of more than a dozen ships entered New York Harbor, passing by the Statue of Liberty, Fort Hamilton, and One World Trade Center as they arrived in Manhattan.
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A ceremonial flyover of military jets welcomed the arriving vessels.
Ryan Field reports aboard the USS Wasp
The U.S.S. Wasp from Norfolk, Virginia, seen with hundreds of service personnel manning the rails, was docked at Pier 88 on Manhattan's West Side.
"It gives us a great opportunity to interact with the people. You know, people that wouldn't necessarily have an interaction with the Navy," said Lt. Stephan Acevedo. "And we can bring that positivity and that good impression we can to the people."
Lt. Acevedo oversees the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard Drill Team, a group of elite young recruits fresh out of boot camp who perform with near-perfect precision.
"Even when they do mess up, like you say, you won't notice it," he told Eyewitness News.
This is the 35th annual NYC Fleet Week, and the arrival of the ships coincides with the arrival of thousands of service women and men in New York City for the event.
Many have traveled up the coast for the occasion. But for some, this is also a homecoming.
"Proud to be home," said U.S. Naval Officer Ray Sgambati, who is from West Islip. "It's a point of pride to be able to come here for Fleet Week after seeing Fleet Weeks growing up. I got family coming out to the ship on Friday, friends coming out to the ship on Saturday."
Marine Sgt. Matthew McDade is from Rockaway Beach.
"Feels great, love being home," he said. "Every time I come home, I get to spend some time with family. Wouldn't change it. Like really... it's great."
And Corporal Nyleen Martin from Richmond Hill, Queens told Eyewitness News what she misses most: her mom's Trinidad-inspired dishes.
"That's the one thing I miss from home," she said. "Like wow... I'm really hungry. I want my mom to make me something to eat right now!"
This year's Parade of Ships includes vessels from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), the Italian Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Navy.
Here are the ships expected to participate this year:
- USS Wasp (LHD 1), an amphibious assault ship from Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), a dock landing ship from Norfolk, Virginia
- HMS Scott (H131), an ocean survey vessel from Plymouth, United Kingdom
- ITS Virginio Fasan (F 591), a frigate from La Spezia, Italy
- HMCS Glace Bay (MM 701), a maritime coastal defense vessel from Nova Scotia, Canada
- USCGC Warren Deyampert (WPC 1151), a fast response cutter from Boston, Massachusetts
- Four U.S. Naval Academy yard patrol crafts (YPs) from Annapolis, Maryland
- USNS Newport (T-EPF 12), an expeditionary fast transport from Norfolk, Virginia
- USS Cole (DDG 67), a guided missile destroyer from Norfolk, Virginia
- DCV Gelberman, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) drift collection vessel from New York
- Fireboat 343, a New York City Fire Department Ranger 4200 class fireboat from New York
- Tall Ship Clipper City, a gaff-rigged schooner ship operated by Manhattan By Sail from New York
If you want to see the ships in person, you can find them along the Hudson River from Battery Park to just south of the George Washington Bridge.
Fleet Week New York runs through May 30th.
For more information on events like boat tours, interactive displays, and military band performances visit: www.fleetweeknewyork.com.
All ship tours are free and open to the public.
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