Los Angeles welcomes sailors, marines, military for Fleet Week 2023

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass joined Navy and other military and local officials Wednesday to celebrate the beginning of LA Fleet Week, a multi-day celebration of the nation's maritime services at the Port of Los Angeles.

The group of officials welcomed visiting sailors, Marines, Coast Guard members and soldiers, who will be in town through Memorial Day weekend. Fleet Week will run Friday to Monday and provide an assortment of activities, including concerts, aerial flyovers, military equipment displays, demonstrations, food and family entertainment.

The venue's main expo is alongside the Battleship USS Iowa, at 250 S. Harbor Blvd., near First Street in San Pedro.

Three U.S. Navy ships -- USS Cincinnati, an Independence-class littoral combat ship; USS Princeton, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser; and USS Ashland, a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship -- will be available for free public ship tours 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Prior to Wednesday's celebratory gathering in San Pedro, Los Angeles City Councilman Tim McOsker, whose Fifteenth District includes San Pedro, celebrated the start of Fleet Week at City Hall with a presentation honoring the U.S. Navy's Third Fleet, Coast Guard, and the Marine Corps and Army.

"Whether it's a domestic emergency or a global disaster, our sea service members (are) always there to provide humanitarian efforts, relief and protection to the most vulnerable," McOsker said during his presentation.

"LA Fleet Week gives Angelenos the opportunity to thank our sea service members for all the critical work that they do to keep the world safe."

The event is expected to bring in more than a quarter of a million visitors to events throughout the city, he added.

"As the largest Memorial Day event in Southern California, this week provides an opportunity for veterans and veteran organizations ... to outreach and network with their fellow veterans," McOsker said.

Councilwoman Traci Park noted that on Saturday, Fleet Week will be coming to Venice, too. At 8 a.m., at the Los Angeles National Cemetery, Angelenos will be placing 1,000 flags to honor "those who gave everything for our nation," Park said, to express "our deepest gratitude and remembrance."

"We're going to continue the day at the Venice boardwalk with a live band performance at Washington Square from 4 to 6 p.m.," Park said, whose Eleventh District includes Venice.

Memorial Day holds a special place in Park's heart, she added, as the proud daughter of a U.S. Army veteran.

Rear Admiral Robert Chadwick, commander of Carrier Strike Group NINE, who led last year's Navy element for Fleet Week and will be doing it again this weekend, said he was excited for Fleet Week.

"I can also say with some authority that Los Angeles set the bar unfairly high for other fleet weeks last year, and they're doing the same thing this year," Chadwick said during the presentation.