The howl of jet engines hissed as the Blue Angels sped over San Francisco. The smell of bacon-wrapped hot dogs filled the air as an F-18 Hornet flew overhead, wings facing downward.
Sailors dressed in white and blue walked the streets for San Francisco’s Fleet Week, an annual event for the US Navy to display its prowess.
SF State student Raymond Lai and former US Navy submariner, said he was reminded of the times he spent wandering aimlessly during the streets of the city with his brothers- in-arms.
“When I see this,” Lai said,“I know it will be unlikely that I’ll be able to share that experience again but I’m glad I got to experience them.”
Lai served in the Navy as a submariner for four years.
“For me, Fleet Week does evoke some positive memories,” Lai said. “But it also stirs up some sad ones as well. You could say that it is a bittersweet experience.”
The USS Bonhomme Richard, an aircraft carrier, (LHD 6) was docked at pier 30-32, off of Embarcadero and Brannan Street.
A line of people, stretching down the street, formed in front of the carrier for tours as street performers and vendors lined The Embarcadero. “The ships are open for civilians to come and check out the ships.” Augustine Bella III said. “It’s always something that is good for the public to see because most people don’t see the type of conditions that military members have to live on. Like a ship where you get to see their living quarters and where they work.”
Bella III, a Bay Area native, served in the United States Marine Corps and has lived in the Bay Area for 40 years.
“They get to be out for six months at a time out at sea and people get to realize that it is kind of a sacrifice to want to be on this ship and have this type of lifestyle,” Bella III said.
From The Embarcadero to Crissy Field and all the way to the Sunset, the Blue Angels put on a show as jets went buzzing by the new Salesforce tower.
They flew in a pattern similar to Coach Bombay’s Flying-V in the “Mighty Ducks.”
Four Blue Angels flew in a diamond pattern towards Pier 39 as spectators watched near-misses and other choreographed midair maneuvers.
People could be seen standing on the roofs of their homes and buildings to watch the Blue Angels’ Airshow.
“For me, it captured my imagination in my youth,” Lai said. “And then as a teenager it strengthened my love for science and
engineering because I wanted to understand how machines could perform such acrobatic maneuvers.” In San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, the 1st Marine Division Band performed as part of Feet Week and the Italian Heri- tage Parade.
“Fleet Week brings in a lot of tourists and income to the city of San Fran- cisco,” Bella said. “People spend a lot of money to come in and see the Blue Angels and spend hours in line just to get aboard one of the ships.”
Washington Square Park was filled with exotic luxury Italian cars ranging from Ferrari to Lamborghini.
Uniformed marines and Navy personnel walked alongside these sports cars for the Italian Heritage Parade.
“The Bay [Area] has a generally overall negative view on the military compared to the rest of the nation,” Lai said. “If one was to sit down and speak to a serviceman they’d most likely come to realize that the people who are willing to serve are some of the most ethical and most moral individuals you’ll meet — because these are the individuals who are willing to sacrifice so much for those who take them for granted.”