Whilst deployed for her United States Combat System Qualification Trials (US CSSQTs), HMAS Brisbane and her crew were fortunate enough to take part in San Francisco Fleet Week 2019.
Fleet Week is a United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard tradition in which active military ships and personnel recently deployed in overseas operations dock in a variety of major cities for one week. Fleet Week events occur across the United States and honour the contributions of men and women of the armed forces whilst advancing cooperation and knowledge among civilian and military based humanitarian assistance personnel.
Brisbane was joined in San Francisco by five United States Navy vessels including one of its newest Destroyers, USS Zumwalt, and two United States Coast Guard Cutters, with over two thousand American service men and women participating in the festivities.
Brisbane engaged in many of the community activities including Ships Open Day, Blessing of the Fleet, Paramedic Ride Along, Art Exhibition, the Annual Italian Heritage Parade and hosting local dignitaries and business leaders for trade and investment dialogues.
Officer of the Watch, Lieutenant Michael Van Den Berg was amongst the crowds and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“The atmosphere at San Francisco’s Fleet Week was incredible, the dedication to service from the United States Armed Services was truly inspiring,” he said.
Brisbane’s ship’s company was made to feel extremely welcome at the event and experienced positive interactions with officers and sailors of the United States Armed Services.
In addition, Brisbane demonstrated her support to the engagement by hosting an Official Reception that concluded with a Ceremonial Sunset, bringing together local dignitaries, business leaders and Senior US Navy personnel.
Officer of the Watch Sub Lieutenant Tori Costello was the Ceremonial Sunset Guard Commander.
“It was a great opportunity to engage with our US guests while also showcasing Australia’s newest ship,” Sub Lieutenant Costello said.
“I was so excited to be Guard Commander for a Ceremonial Sunset in the United States during Fleet Week.”
The evening was a resounding success and built upon the strong relationship between Australian and American cultures in both an official and social capacity.
During the visit Brisbane’s ship’s company invited to attend the ‘Fleet Week Hero’s Concert’ in which over 12,000 people gather to honour the efforts of those personnel who serve in the both the military and first responders.
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Alex Trevatt was delighted to have been amongst Brisbane’s officers and sailors in attendance at the event.
“San Francisco’s residents exhibited so much pride in their service men and women and it pays tribute to the ongoing service of active military personnel deployed both at home and abroad,” she said.
The visit concluded with public open day in which over 2500 locals from San Francisco visited Brisbane for tours throughout the ship and gained an appreciation of the ships systems and capabilities.
HMAS Brisbane is currently in the United States completing her Combat System Trials and is due to return to Australian in December.