Usually we see on the news that we are spending millions of dollars on military, and how we have state of the art technology, people, and equipments for the job. However, everything looked so distant, and so unrealistic when comparing to my normal life. It is hard to relate and to feel as if we are part of it.
I decided I need to attend Fleet Weekend, to watch Blue Angels fly closely with my own eyes instead of through television (for the past umm, 10 years) and see the fighter jets. I really was not expecting much besides the air-shows, and this event in 2011, wowed my heart.
The event comprised of 2 parts, the exhibition and the airshows.
I walked in around 10am, and had to wear lots of make-up to cover dark circles around my my eyes because I was too excited to sleep for some reason. I finally strolled past Fort Mason and to the green grass area, and first thing I saw was all the military vehicles around O_O
The vehicles were so massive, and the best part was, we the public get to hop on it and look inside. I approached several Marines who were on post by the truck, but they were shy and did not talk much (and I got intimidated so I did not ask). Finally I gathered my courage, pointed at the truck above in the photo, and ask the Marine here if I could get on the truck.
When sitting in the truck, it does feel like you are on top of the world, since you are higher than everyone else. I bet this would be a fun vehicle to drive on the highway or crossing the bay bridge. I would be saying “Yes, beware of the crusher! Get out of my way” while driving this =D
I also had the chance to chat with Marine, Starr (Hugs ^_^). He was nice enough to explain what the buttons in the truck do (there were like 30 different buttons going on), and we also talked about life as a Marine and why he decided to join. It was cool to see people who answered the call to serve our country, dedicated their life and time to the military, and endured long days of solidarity on ships instead of eating popcorn, sitting on a mushy couch and watching TV while cuddling with loved ones on a Friday night.
There were also many interactive games and activities at the Fleet Weekend. For one they had the special tactics team tent where they had guys doing the training in front of everyone. It was interesting watching the guys struggling to complete the exercises, and the physical limit they have been pushed to. Who does not love guys that work hard and thrive to be the best? I am for sure glad I am not the one doing the exercises everyday though. (I would probably complain like hell about muscle pain every single day, just ask my parents, they heard it all when I was doing sports in high school).
Another worth mention activity was the Navy had a water tank with a glass window, and you can play tic-tac-toe or write messages back and forth with the diver. The children were thrilled when they saw this exhibit, and it was one of the longest lines at the event.
I also donated money to Troops Direct that sends packages to our military staff who are fighting battles overseas. I think this is my first time donating money in a long time, but if I cannot fight the battle, I guess I can contribute something to help a little.
3pm came, and the most anticipated airshow was about to start. Many people who unfortunately do not own the house in that area start walking to the shores and trying to find the best spot. I also see a lot of people with gigantic camera lenses. I sighed as I looked at my own lens...should not complain as I borrowed the camera, but I knew it was going to be hard to photography any airplane with limited lens distance.
(Photo Above: The privileged ones enjoying the show from the comfort of their rooftop)
During the flight show there was an Asian young guy with super camera lenses, not only he was geared out, he also had a radio that allows him to hear the pilots talking in the cockpit. He even talked about the specialty of each flight team in the show, and different models of the airplanes. It was like having a private tour guide with you. XD
Canadian and USA teams were my favorite in the show. But there were also military jets shown. Like the B2-Spirit Bomber: stealth jet. When the stealth jet was announced, all the people were like “Where is it? where is it?” and someone in the audience yelled ” It is invisible, you not suppose to see it!!” XDD. But really, B2-Spirit was truly elegant as it quietly flew towards us. The aircraft’s flight pattern looked so peaceful, so easy, and yet to our enemies it is so deadly. I would probably renamed it Dark Angel or Dark Feather…(2 billion dollars a piece x_X)
(Photo Above: Canadian Snow Birds team. They are white on top, red on the bottom, specialized in snowflake formation. Very very pretty to watch from far away)
(Photo Above: Blue Angels representing USA. They really wowed the crowd as they did formations like diamond, staggering their wings slightly on top of each other, and also dead drop towards the ground)
All the jets looked like they were dancing in the sky and having fun (that includes real fighter jets too). I wish I was the one up there and feeling the adrenaline because being in the air force was my dream when I was little. But then again, if I joined, I think my parents and grandparents would probably faint and need to go to emergency in the hospital.
I had a great day, loved talking to people at the event, and got business cards and also contact info from various people. If you are around in San Francisco with your family during Fleet Weekend, this is a cool event to take your kids or military fanatic fans to see the military vehicles, aircraft, and tryout some activities there.
Did you attend a similar military or airplane show event at the country your in right now? How does it feel to see other countries fleet?