Today I took Cub Scout Pack 925 and Troop 88 on a behind the scenes tour of Fleet Week - New York. We left Connecticut at zero-dark-thirty to arrive in Manhattan at Pier 94 by 7:30 a.m. It's good that we arrived early because there is always a bit of confusion and it gave us time to work out all the kinks. We were FIRST in line to enter the event. The weather was not very cooperative and it was overcast and rainy all the way into the city. But... as soon as we parked the car, the rain stopped and the rest of the day was actually quite beautiful. We had the added benefit of this gray early morning weather scaring away the fair-weather friends. We pretty much had the ships to ourself for about an hour.
Here's a picture of the USS Oak Hill from aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Campbell. Nice view!
The Secretary of the Navy issued an order to New Yorkers, "Take a Selfie with a Sailor" - which I automatically modified to "Take a Selfie with a Marine." Here is GySgt Best with me aboard the USS Oak Hill. The Boy Scouts loved climbing aboard the various Marine Corps vehicles and trying out the different weapons the Marines had as static displays.
I took this selfie with a Marine who is also an Eagle Scout. He was fabulously engaging with all the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and reminisced about his days as a Scout. All in all, we ran into about five servicemen who were Eagle Scouts. They loved seeing 50 Scouts aboard their ship.
We took a group photo from the deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Campbell with the USS Oak Hill in the background.
The Scouts were in heaven with all the tactical vehicle static displays. Bigger boys with bigger toys. That's what I always say.
We got a peak at the Osprey and everyone got to climb in to experience what it's like to be on the inside of this Marine helo.
The adults enjoyed some down time in the seats chatting with this Marine.
The boys got to try on all sorts of gear - including flak jackets, comm gear.
They got to handle some of the weapons - the MK19 was a favorite. The Marines loved showing the Scouts their stations.
Sailors gave demos, too. The boys loved it all. (Moms and dads, too.) What's not to like.
The pull-up bar became a popular activity for all the Scouts. It was a Navy station... but there were two gungho Marines who were helping everyone get up and over the bar. Some youth didn't need any help at all. They were naturals.
Here's a view of AAVs, LAVs and even some hovercraft. It was pretty cool stuff to see.
Hi Everyone! Hope you can join us next time. This is great stuff. It really is the perfect way to celebrate Memorial Day. Remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms - and undestand and appreciate a little bit of what it means to be a member of today's Armed Forces.
After our tour, we pulled out my cases of MREs for lunch.
The Scouts had fun choosing their lunch or souvenir based on flavor.
And in true Marine Corps fashion the Scouts found their seats on the concrete jungle oustide Pier 94 and had their lunches. After they were done, we policed the area and didn't leave a trace.
Thank you to all the Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who helped us celebrate Memorial Day this weekend. We salute you for your service - and all who have gone before you.