SAN FRANCISCO - The USS Makin Island (LHD-8), a ship built to carry troops, supplies and relief in response to crisis throughout the globe, arrived in San Francisco Oct. 3, 2012, with the Marines and Sailors of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
During the next several days, more than 700 Marines and Sailors will not only demonstrate their amphibious capabilities but also participate in several events with the Bay Area community during the 2012 San Francisco Fleet Week.
“We set up two of our aircraft, the UH-1Y 'Venom' and our AH-1Z 'Viper' on the flight deck of the [Makin Island],” said Sgt. Ian J. McCall, an airframe mechanic with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267, 13th MEU. “This is exciting because it lets us show people the same aircraft we’ll deploy with and they can step inside to get a close look at some of the newest aircraft the Corps has.”
The service members of the 13th MEU will also participate in numerous community outreach events including, the Italian Heritage Day Parade, urban search and rescue demonstration, habitat restoration projects, hospital visits and many others.
“In San Francisco, our focus will be improving readiness for the Bay Area in the event of a natural disaster or national crisis during Fleet Week,” said Col. Christopher D. Taylor, commanding officer of the 13th MEU. “With our expeditionary, from the sea capability, combined with the Navy and Coast Guard, we offer a rapid response to humanitarian crisis.”
For many Marines, this will be their first time to lay eyes on the Golden Gate Bridge, sample the local cuisine in Chinatown or ride the antique streetcars. Some Marines are returning home to San Francisco; some after spending many years away in the line of duty.
“It’s been a little over three years since I’ve been back home in San Francisco,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jason E. Dow, the administrative chief for the 13th MEU. “It’s nice to be back and get a chance to visit Fisherman’s Wharf and see the 49ers play. I really missed the city and the atmosphere. It's home for me still, even after being away.”
Fleet Week will provide the opportunity for thousands of service members to learn and enjoy all that San Francisco has to offer. The hospitality of its citizens combined with the Navy-Marine Corps spirit of teamwork will make this a distinctive experience for all who visit America’s "Most Livable City."