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U.S. and Allied Ships Arrive for Fleet Week New Orleans

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS150427-17
Release Date: 4/27/2015 3:22:00 PM

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Smith, USS Wasp Public Affairs

NEW ORLEANS (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) and several other U.S. and allied ships arrived in New Orleans April 23 to begin a Fleet Week which is scheduled to last through April 29.

Expeditionary Strike Group 2 is leading the six ships representing the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy throughout the visit. The weeklong celebration is an opportunity for the citizens of New Orleans and the surrounding area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's sea services.

Joining the festivities alongside Wasp are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Cole (DDG 67) and USS James E. Williams (DDG 95), the Duke class British frigate HMS Lancaster, Coast Guard Reliance class cutter USCG Dauntless, and Canadian Iroquois class destroyer HMCS Athabaskan. The Marines of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit are aboard Wasp representing the full spectrum of sea power.

In addition to offering the community a chance to interact with Navy ships and Sailors, the event also gives visiting Sailors the opportunity to experience the culture and heritage of New Orleans and the surrounding area.

Military members will have the opportunity to participate in several community relation projects, sporting events, concerts, golfing events, and morale, welfare and recreation tours.

While in New Orleans, the ships also serve as ambassadors for their respective navies by offering ship tours to the public. Guided tours aboard each ship will take place daily to showcase American and allied sea power capabilities.

Fleet Week New Orleans is scheduled to conclude its ceremonies April 29, with a time-honored event known as the 'Blessing of the Fleet.' Dating back centuries to southern Europe, the tradition consists of a priest, primarily to Catholic fishing communities, blessing the fleet to ensure a safe and bountiful season.

Wasp participated in Fleet Week New Orleans in 2012 which commemorated the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

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