HMCS Calgary shines at Fleet Week in San Francisco


On a sunny California morning, HMCS Calgary joined its counterparts from the United States Navy and Coast Guard and sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge; lining the shore were thousands of people to see the spectacle.

The frigate’s mission: to represent Canada and the Royal Canadian Navy in San Francisco for Fleet Week 2015, held Oct. 5 to 12.

Fleet Week is celebrated annually across the United States, in cities such as New York, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, with the aim of showcasing the navy to the public, and building and strengthening ties with the cities that host them.  

Events include the parade of ships where the fleet enters the harbour in formation, aerial displays from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, and the U.S. Navy’s Leap Frog parachute team, as well as the unique opportunity for the public to venture on board and tour warships from around the world.

In San Francisco, the United States Navy showed off one of their newest warships: USS Somerset, the latest San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks, as well as the Cruiser USS Cape St. George, the Destroyer USS Stockdale, and the Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado.  

Joining sailors in the Fleet Week kick off were members of the San Francisco 49ers.

Calgary, berthed at Pier 15 between the famous San Francisco Ferry Terminal and tourist hotspot Pier 39, was a popular choice for tourists and locals who wanted to get a closer look at the men and women of the Royal Canadian Navy.

The crew hosted tour groups, including displays from the ship’s boarding party and dive team, and strategically placed sailors at various positions on the upper decks to answer questions on a variety of subjects, from weaponry and equipment to the ship’s role in counter-piracy and peacekeeping around the world, to being a sailor and a Canadian.  

Over 4,000 people came on board.  

Other events in the week included a concert to the fallen put on by the U.S. Marine Band, an air show, a meet and greet barbecue, and several parades.  

Included in the events was a gathering of representatives from all the ships for the annual Fleet Week iconic photo, which saw Calgary sailors front and centre of the pack wearing their famed Smithbilt cowboy hats.  

Later in the week, Commander Julian Elbourne, Calgary Commanding Officer, joined Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, Commodore Jeff Zwick, and the officers and crew in hosting Canada’s Consul General in San Francisco, Brandon Lee.

The reception on board the warship also included senior staff from the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as other honoured guests of the Consul General and Canadians living in the Bay area.

It was not all work; the crew ventured ashore in uniform to take part in the events of Fleet Week and meet the people of the city and enjoy its various attractions.  

At the end of the week, Calgary bade farewell to the Bay Area for another year, slipped the lines, and sailed past the Golden Gate to continue on to another mission.


LS David McColl
HMCS Calgary

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