(formerly Navy Days)
May 27-30, 2022
Free Public Tours
250 S. Harbor Blvd.
San Pedro, CA
Valid, government-issued ID required. portoflosangeles.org | lafleetweek.com
By C. MacDonald
SAN PEDRO-A capacity crowd of 7,000 were able to tour on-board ships in a very well-organized "Navy Days-LA" celebration this past weekend. The event, sponsored by the Navy League, was run very efficiently. Free reservations were "sold out" in two hours for the incredible tours aboard the U.S.S. Anchorage, an amphibious transport ship, and the U.S.S. Spruance, a guided missile destroyer, that were rightfully berthed near the Battleship Iowa, south of the World Cruise Center.
The tours were a big hit for all involved. Kyle Kerley from Texas, a deckhand on the Spruance, said, "Navy Days makes you proud you're serving your country. We see just how much the military matters to people. The community has been so hospitable." Paul Mercado, an LA native, who works in damage control on the Anchorage, said this finally gave him a chance to show his family and friends just what he does in the Navy.
"Navy Days is a great way to show the public what we do on a day-to-day basis. We're very proud of what we do and its awesome to get to show it off," said Zachary Shrout, a Petty Officer Second Class, who was a tour guide aboard the Anchorage.
"This is the largest event that brings tourists to San Pedro," said Scott F. Gray, President of the San Pedro Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It brings about a tremendous interaction between the military and the community." Not only were the military honored at various functions but they gave back to the area by working on the town's great attraction, the Battleship Iowa, visiting hospitals to raise patient morale, inspiring students to study science, technology, engineering and math, explaining things aboard ship and a lot more. The CVB provided a helpful "Sailor's Guide to San Pedro," listing restaurants and fun places to go.
"Navy Days are a tremendous opportunity for us to show the people of LA, the character of their sailors and the capabilities and quality of their ship," said the Anchorage's Commander Joel Stewart.
"We really appreciate the community's hospitality. It has been incredible," said Bobby Greene, a Chief Petty Officer from North Carolina, who repairs medical equipment aboard the Anchorage.
The Anchorage, commissioned last year, transports Marines, helicopters, planes, equipment and will even be involved in recovering a space capsule. On-board yesterday were Chantelle Imhoff, a Marine corporal from Nebraska, who, along with fellow Marines Zach Snook from Georgia, and Nick Junge from Germany, both lance corporals, talked with guests about combat engineering, showing the uses of a rappel kit, multi-purpose tools and a foldable ladder.
Jon'ta Paten, a U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant, showed off a huge mock-up space capsule on the ship that is part of a NASA Orion Program. Andy Quiett, a retired Navy commander, also working with the Air Force as part of a detail used to help recover astronauts and capsules, said the capsule, capable of carrying 4 astronauts, is 12 1/2-feet tall, 16-feet in diameter and weighs 20,000 pounds (compared to the Apollo 17 capsule that was 10-feet tall, 12-feet in diameter and weighed 13,000 pounds.)
"The Anchorage will assist in the recovery of an Orion capsule during tests this December. The unmanned capsule will be launched from Florida and orbit the earth twice (during its 4 1/2-hour mission) before traveling back to earth at a rapid speed," he said. "Navy divers and this ship will help recover the capsule in the program to test the Heat Shield and Navigation Systems."
"Navy Days has been a tremendous success for everyone involved," said Lt. Bob Kearley, a US Navy Reservist from Montana, who worked on active duty as a Public Affairs Officer at the event for the Navy Office of Community Outreach.
"It's important not only to know our heritage but to appreciate what our military is doing today. This type of interaction is priceless."
The home port for both ships is San Diego. The Anchorage is named after the Alaskan city; the Spruance is named after the admiral who commanded Naval forces in the Battle of Midway and the Philippines.
Congratulations to Grant W. Ivey, National Director and
President of Navy Days-LA, and everyone involved, who
made it happen.
Be sure and watch for information on future Navy Days at www.SanPedroCVB.com and www.navydaysla.org
Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.