NEW YORK -- In the air and on the ground, Sailors and Marines dazzled a crowd of nearly 6,000 visitors with a variety of troop insertions and flyovers during an aviation demonstration at Eisenhower Park as part of Fleet Week New York (FWNY), May 23.
The demonstration kicked into high-gear as three MH-60S Seahawks from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 9 descended into the park at more than 40 knots then quickly pulled into a hover. Seconds later, members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 12 performed a fast-rope insertion, demonstrating their capability of getting into a situation quickly and efficiently.
After the helicopters landed and powered down, the crowd of excited onlookers took photos and toured the aircraft and met with the aviation team and EOD members.
"I really liked the helicopters," said 9-year-old Katie Burke. "The best part was I got to sit in the back of the helicopter. If I were in the Navy, I would want to be a pilot and rescue people."
The demonstration at Eisenhower Park was just one of several during FWNY. For EOD Technician 3rd Class Joseph Smith, this was his favorite.
"Actually, being able to fast rope for the crowd is the best part. It's fun, but kind of dangerous and really gets the adrenaline pumping. There's nothing better than that!"
Fleet Week continues to be an unparalleled opportunity for sea-service members and citizens to meet and share experiences.
"Talking with the kids and everyone is magical ... they love us," said Smith. "It's like we are celebrities here."
Following the Navy Seahawk's departure, Marine Corps aircraft thundered overhead.
Attack helicopters simulated clearing a landing zone (LZ), then an MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft inserted Marines who quickly swarmed the LZ and took up defensive positions - much to the delight of the crowd.
Throughout the demonstration, kids donned helmets, tactical vests and other equipment. However, the many military veterans in attendance incorporated the day into their personal Memorial Day observances.
"I miss the action," said Larry Jorgenson, a Marine Corps veteran. "I wanted to come out and support the troops and have a good time. Events like today are all I need to celebrate Memorial Day."
Fleet Week New York, now in its 27th year, is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services. The weeklong celebration is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services.