July 09, 2012
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Marines invaded Cleveland last month. In August, the U.S. Navy will drop anchor in the city.
Nearly 1,000 sailors and a handful of ships will visit the city from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4 to commemorate the War of 1812 bicentennial during Navy Week. The week will overlap with the Cleveland National Air Show, at which the Navy’s Blue Angels are scheduled to perform.
Lake Erie’s role during the war makes this year’s event especially significant, said Rear Adm. Gregory Nosal, commander of Carrier Strike Group Two.
The Navy clinched America’s control of the lake during the war by defeating and capturing British warships off Ohio’s coast.
“It’s nice to be in Cleveland because there is a direct link,” he said. “We want to capitalize on that.”
The Flagship Niagara, a replica of one of the battle’s principle vessels, will be ported in Cleveland Harbor during the week for tours. U.S. and Canadian naval vessels, and U.S. Coast Guard cutters will also be on hand.
The Navy is planning a wealth of entertainment for the week, including: demonstrations from the Leap Frogs parachute team, performances by the Navy band, and an interactive simulator.
Navy personnel will volunteer at the Cleveland Food Bank and partner with Habitat for Humanity during their visit.
Military and civilian officials gathered Monday for the event’s final planning meeting. The goal was to finalize the events schedule and ensure each agency knows its role.
Federal, state, local and international agencies have partnered to bring Cleveland a taste of shipboard life.
“This is an opportunity for Cleveland to be exposed to the military, to see what their young men and women do every day,” Nosal said.
Last month’s Marine Week activities brought more than 175,000 visitors. That was the only Marine Week to be held this year.
Cleveland’s Navy Week is one of 15 such weeks being held this year in cities across the country, including five other cities on the Great Lakes. Toledo will host a Navy Week the week before Cleveland’s.