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  • 11
  • Oct
  • 2015
Parade of ships sail through San Francisco Bay

By Cpl. Joshua Murray, I Marine Expeditionary Force

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marines, sailors and the citizens of San Francisco observed a Parade of ships Oct. 9, as part of San Francisco Fleet Week 2015.

SFFW '15 is a week-long event that blends a unique training and education program, bringing together key civilian emergency responders and Naval crisis-response forces to exchange best practices on humanitarian assistance disaster relief with particular emphasis on defense support to civil authorities.

The parade was observed by military leaders at the Saint Francis Yacht Club, where they paid respects to the passing ships.

On Oct. 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake shook the grounds of Northern California resulting in 63 deaths, 3,757 injuries and millions of dollars in total damage. Sean Svendsen, Commodore of the Saint Francis Yacht Club, said the parade of ships is an important part of exposing the citizens of San Francisco to different ships that could be used in response to a natural disaster such as another earthquake.

“The coordination between the armed forces, the citizens and first responders is an essential aspect of being prepared for the next big disaster,” Svendsen said. “The more practice we have and the more educated we are on each other’s processes we are, the better we will be at responding to an event when it occurs.”

As the military members and the San Francisco natives interact and learn new lessons, camaraderie and professionalism strengthens amongst the groups. Lewis Loeven, the executive director of San Francisco Fleet Week Association, said the San Francisco public has taken fleet week on wholeheartedly.

“The San Fran public has completely embraced fleet week,” Loeven said. “While they have always loved seeing the Blue Angels and the other big ticket items, they have also really taken in the service members by getting to know them and showing them around this beautiful city.”

The people of San Francisco appreciate the opportunity to interact with the military members and see how the different services and organizations respond to new scenarios and how they work together to accomplish missions, Svendsen said.

“We think it’s the most exceptional experience there can be,” Svendsen said. “We really appreciate all of the armed services and want to show our support to the fullest extent.”

The interaction between the U.S. military members and events like the Parade of Ships improves overall understanding and teamwork in order to prepare the city of San Francisco as best as possible for the next natural disaster.
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