hu, Aug 23, 2012
Posted by StreetWise Colleen Connolly, StreetWise Editorial Intern
Coinciding with the Chicago Air and Water Show and the commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 is Navy Week, an annual event to raise awareness about the military branch. This year, Chicago was chosen as one of 15 participating cities.
The Navy will put on several free events through August 20, including concerts, parades, tours and community service projects. In addition, there will be five U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Navy ships docking in Navy Pier, as a way to commemorate the bicentennial. Chicagoans can visit and learn about these ships on tours.
Three of the ships are American: the U.S.S. De Wert, the U.S.S. Hurricane and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay. The U.S.S. De Wert is an Oliver Hazard Perry frigate of the U.S. Navy. The ship was named after Richard De Wert, a hospitalman in the Korean War. De Wert was killed at 20 years old when he selflessly attempted to save four other Marines and was killed by gunshots.
The U.S.S. De Wert was launched in December 1982, and its homeport is Naval Station Mayport in Florida. In October 2011, the ship – along with the British vessel Fort Victoria – rescued the Italian ship Montecristo after Somali pirates invaded it.
The U.S.S. Hurricane is a Cyclone class ship currently operated under U.S. Coast Guard control for homeland defense. The ship was launched in June 1992. Its homeport is in Little Creek Amphibious Base in Virginia. The major mission of ships in the Cyclone class is to patrol the coasts.
Also known as the “Sentinel of the Straits,” Biscayne Bay is a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking harbor tug. It was commissioned in 1979, and its homeport is in St. Ignace, Mich. The primary mission of Biscayne Bay is to make sure the shipping lanes in the Great Lakes remain navigable.
Six of the cities participating in Navy Week this year are situated on the Great Lakes. According to Ken Cronk, a Navy Week spokesperson, Chicago was an obvious choice.
“We can really do what we need to do here,” he said, “which is to show a little piece of the U.S. Navy to as many people as we possibly can.”