HMCS Winnipeg at San Francisco Fleet Week

The 2017 San Francisco Fleet Week Iconic Photo representing the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy and the United States Marines. Photo by Elena Zhukova

The 2017 San Francisco Fleet Week Iconic Photo representing the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy and the United States Marines. Photo by Elena Zhukova

Lt(N) Ellie Aminaie, HMCS Winnipeg ~

Last week, HMCS Winnipeg attended Fleet Week in San Francisco, California. This six-day event was filled with activities and community relations events with Winnipeg actively participating in numerous engagements.

Winnipeg also supported the Canadian Leaders at Sea (CLAS) program, where 23 community leaders, members of parliament and entrepreneurs sailed onboard the ship to San Francisco and back.

During the three-day transit, the ship put its capabilities in warfare and damage control on full display. CLAS participants were particularly impressed by the skill and professionalism of Winnipeg’s sailors.

Once alongside San Francisco, a group of Winnipeg sailors volunteered at St. Anthony’s Foundation, a non-profit organization that feeds and clothes those in need. The crew sorted clothing donations and served food in the dining room.

They enjoyed the opportunity to share a meal with the 1,500 people who were served that day and to hear their personal stories.

“It was a very rewarding experience for me to serve food and to have an opportunity to interact with the less fortunate,” said LS Pelletier, who served meals at the event. “It is a humbling experience to see so many people in need of a hot meal and it made me appreciate what I have.”

During the Parade of Ships event, during which all participating ships sailed under the Golden Gate bridge in formation, Winnipeg had 60 guests embarked, including members of the United States Auxiliary Coast Guard, the San Francisco Police Department, the Port Authority and other members of the community.

It was an especially great experience for the 12 children embarked who thoroughly enjoyed sailing onboard a warship. They got some hands-on experience at the six tour stations, including the Dive Team and the Naval Boarding Party. They also had an opportunity to don bunker gear and handle a fire hose. The guests were impressed and grateful for the experience.

Other notable events at Fleet Week included the Honour Our Fallen USMC concert, the Oakland Navy League Barbecue, the Italian Heritage Parade and the Iconic Photo where 350 members of the Royal Canadian Navy, the United States Navy, the Coast Guard and the Marine Corps gathered for a commemorative group photo, symbolizing the cooperation of the different branches of the Navy.

Winnipeg also hosted a reception on the flight deck with over 200 guests in attendance, co-hosted by the Commander Maritime Forces Pacific, Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, and Consular General of Canada in San Francisco, Rana Sakar. This reception reinforced the close ties the Royal Canadian Navy has with the Fleet Week organization and the city of San Francisco.

Winnipeg showcased RCN hospitality in true navy fashion during the event. All the food served at the reception represented the Canadian provinces and territories, including bison meatballs from Manitoba, Elk meat from the Northwest Territories, bacon-wrapped filet mignon from Alberta and East Coast lobster cakes. The food was considered the highlight of the event with many guests visiting the cooks in the galley to compliment them on their great work.

As Fleet Week came to an end, Winnipeg transited back to Esquimalt, shifting focus to the next task at hand. Winnipeg’s busy fall schedule includes participation in OpTest Stargazer near Nanoose, the United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministers’ Conference in Vancouver, the Fleet Navigating Officers’ course at sea and Ship Without Air Detachment helicopter training in December.

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