|Bay Area Peace Navy - Fleet Week 2015
sent to SF Chronicle
Steve Rubenstein's article promoting the Fleet Week Parade of Ships got one thing wrong - the weapon-laden vessels were not entirely "surrounded by an adoring armada." Two sailboats were there flying banners about peace and disarmament. One was a veteran of Bay Area Peace Navy actions, the other the Golden Rule, a restored ketch that had protested atomic testing in the Pacific in 1958. Those of us who have been challenging Fleet Week for years remember when the Parade was much larger. The Navy's no longer based here - but the peace movement didn't "win". Our message is still the same - the many watermen and women of this magnificent region deserve a broader event celebrating more than just the Navy. It's time to reexamine and redefine Fleet Week.
Lincoln Cushing, Bay Area Peace Navy (ret.)
The Parade of Ships is a shadow of its former self. Now held on a workday, a scant four Navy ships blew into the bay with scattered civilian viewers. The law enforcement presence was, as always, huge - scores of RIBBs, patrol boats, and the like from agencies ranging from the Coast Guard to local sheriff and fire departments. It should be noted that the Coasties are the poor cousins in the armed services food chain. Despite providing (for the most part) a valuable service to citizens they get a pittance of a budget. Colleague Dave Helvarg, a veteran of several Peace Navy actions, gave them a proper shout-out in his book Rescue Warriors.
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