San Diegans stood in line to take a ship tour as part of Fleet Week at the Broadway Pier.
San Diegans stood in line to take a ship tour as part of Fleet Week 2019 at the Broadway Pier. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego Fleet Week opens Thursday and will include a series of events for the public, from ship and technology tours to music and cooking contests, all focused on the U.S. military.

The USS Montgomery (LCS 8), along with Marine Corps equipment from MCAS Miramar and Camp Pendleton, may be viewed at the downtown Broadway Pier, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter USCG Forrest Rednour (WPC 1129).

San Diego companies and Navy and Marine Corps commands will have exhibits in the Sony “Innovation Zone” inside the Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier.

Student STEM Days, sponsored by the Judith Campbell Education and Community Foundation, began Thursday, giving approximately 3000 students the opportunity to tour the ships and visit displays to see the latest technology used by the military and developed by San Diego industries.

Free tours to see the ships and Marine equipment will be open to the public from 1-4 p.m. Friday, continuing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“We are really excited about the response we have received from the San Diego business community and the military for this year’s Innovation Zone”, said Bill Baugh, a retired Army colonel and board president of the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation. 

In addition to military representatives from the Naval Information Warfare Center, Naval Medical Center and the Naval Health and Research Center, companies supporting Fleet Week include General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and San Diego Gas & Electric.

Other events that are part of Fleet Week include:

  • Navy and Marine Corps bands performing on the Fleet Week Stage over the weekend.
  • A Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) cooking contest at noon Saturday and Sunday, to challenge teams from Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard to create gourmet meals from standard field rations.
  • Military Family Day at the Pier on Sunday, with games, activities and goodies for military families, and an afternoon concert featuring Tim Hurley and his band. 
  • The BAE-sponsored Enlisted Recognition Luncheon, at SeaWorld’s Nautilus Pavilion on Tuesday.
  • The General Atomics-sponsored Fleet Week/SDMAC Breakfast on Wednesday, with Vice Admiral Michael Boyle, Commander U.S. Third Fleet, as guest speaker, at the ADM Kidd Catering and Conference Center on Naval Base Point Loma, Harbor Drive Annex.

Forces from I Marine Expeditionary Force, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE, Navy Region Southwest, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Southern California, Strike Group Oceanography Team San Diego and Coast Guard Sector San Diego are also participating.

The week concludes with two big public events, on Nov. 11-12.

The second annual Veteran’s Day Boat Parade, on Nov. 11, features pleasure boats decorated in patriotic themes. It starts at Shelter Island at noon, working its way past Harbor Island and the Embarcadero, before crossing to Coronado.

The two hours of events include the parade and demonstrations by the Coast Guard, vintage aircraft flyovers and skydiving demonstrations. 

Fleet Week wraps up the next day with the return of the Fleet Week Football Classic at Snapdragon Stadium. San Diego State will face San Jose State.