The skies over Eisenhower Park, in East Meadow, N.Y., resembled an action scene from a summer blockbuster as Navy and Marine Corps units performed a variety of troop insertions and flyovers during an aviation demonstration during Memorial Day weekend, and Fleet Week New York (FWNY).
The Navy’s parachute team, the Leap Frogs, performed a precision drop to open the event. Six special warfare Sailors, trailing banners, pennants, flags and colored smoke descended onto the grounds to the delight of the crowd of more than 5,000 spectators.
Soon after, an MH-60S Seahawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 2 made a high speed pass, followed by a second Seahawk, which swooped into the park and quickly pulled into a hover. Minutes later, members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 12 performed a fast-rope insertion.
After the helicopters landed and powered down, the crowd of excited onlookers took photos and toured the aircraft and met with the aviation team and EOD members.
“I saw the helicopters land … it was spectacular,” said 12-year-old Lara Kilmetis. “The best part though, is getting a chance to speak to the Sailors and Marines because I respect what they do and it’s really interesting.”
Lt. Kaylee Grove, a MH-60 pilot, was pleased to be able fly in and spend time in the city over the Memorial Day weekend.
“We brought a 2-bird formation into the park for Memorial Day and there absolutely isn’t a better way to spend the holiday than what we are doing here today,” she said. “It’s great to get the support from people, but to see the admiration they have for those who made the ultimate sacrifice is special, and that’s what Memorial Day is all about.”
Following the Navy aircraft’s departure, a Marine Corps MH-53 Sea Dragon and an MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft landed and offloaded elements of a Marine Air Ground Task Force.
FWNY, now in its 28th year, is the city’s time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity to for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services. The weeklong celebration has been held nearly every year since 1984.
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