Fleet Week Is Back In New York, And The Ships Look Awesome [PHOTOS]

RTR3Q87NEduardo Munoz/ReutersThe USS Oak Hill, a Harpers Ferry-class, is seen from Weehawken in New Jersey as it arrives in New York Harbor for Fleet Week in New York May 21, 2014.

Last year, an ongoing Congressional budget fightwiped outone of the military’s premier outreach events: New York’s Fleet Week, which didn’t involve a single vessel in 2013. But the ships are back this year, and three Navy and two Coast Guard vessels paraded through New York Harbor this morning to kick off the Memorial Day week festivities.

RTR3Q7Q9Lucas Jackson/ReutersSailors and an Osprey stand on the deck of the USS Oak Hill, a Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy arrives in New York Harbor for Fleet Week in New York, May 21, 2014.

The USS Cole led the way. Al Qaeda terroristsblew up the Navy destroyer’s hullwhile it was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden on October 12, 2000, killing 17 American sailors. The ship wasrehabilitatedand returned to service in 2003. Today, it led a column of three Navy ships entering New York Harbor from the Atlantic. It then overtook the Campbell, a Coast Guard cutter, near the Verizano Narrows Bridge to lead rest of the Fleet Week vessels.

Armin RosenThe USS Cole near the Verrazano Bridge

AsNaval Lieutenant CommanderRon Carpinella told Business Insider during an embark aboard the Campbell today, Fleet Week is a chance to educate the American public about their military. “It exposes Americans to their armed forces and helps them understand what all of these men and women do,” he said.

AP105098287194Mark Lennihan/APSailors line the decks of the destroyer USS Cole as it glides past One World Trade Center on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

For recentMedal of Honour recipientand Army sergeant Kyle White, who wasalso on the Campbell this morning, being at Fleet Week is partly a show of appreciation for the Navy, Marine and Coast Guard personnel he worked alongside. “I’m out here showing support for all of the branches of the military,” he told Business Insider, adding that “it’s been overwhelming and humbling at the same time,” to receive the military’s highest honour.

Armin RosenThe bridge of the USCGC Campbell

The Campbell is a 270-foot vessel used for fisheries enforcement and anti-narcotics efforts. It has pursuit capabilities and a 62-calibre gun that’s occasionally used to shoot out the engines of faster ships, like drug-running boats. The Campbell was inaugurated in 1988 and is the successor vessel to an earlier, identically-named Coast Guard ship noted in naval circles forramming a German submarineduring World War II.

The Campbell also has its own mascot: a dog named Sinbad that sailors from the ship’s predecessor adopted in 1938. Sinbad lives on through this shrine in the cutter’s mess hall — people even leave it dog treats.

During its trip to Pier 92 in midtown Manhattan, the Campbell paused briefly to pay tribute to victims of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Below, the ship’s sailors stand at attention prior to the beginning of a moment of silence.

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