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Fleet Week San Diego goes virtual, seeks participants for Veteran's Day boat parade

Brad Perry, from KUSI TV News interviews Sailors assigned to amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) during San Diego Fleet Week 2016. Fleet week offers the public an opportunity to meet Sailors, Marines, and members of the Coast Guard and gain a better understanding of how the sea services support the national defense of the United States and freedom of the seas.

JOSEPH M. BULIAVAC/U.S. NAV

By ANDREW DYER | The San Diego Union-Tribune | Published: November 7, 2020

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SAN DIEGO (Tribune News Service) — Fleet Week San Diego will go ahead this year with a week of live and online events, culminating in a Veteran's Day boat parade on Nov. 11, but some things have changed.

The Miramar Air Show, for instance, was canceled due to the pandemic. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the star attraction at the Miramar Air Show, also canceled their season due to COVID-19.

Normally a U.S. Navy ship is docked pier-side downtown and available for tours. This time, due to COVID-19 protocols, the ship tours will be held online, said Brian O'Rourke, a Navy Region Southwest spokesman.

"The Navy is not participating in live events to COVID-19," O'Rourke said. However, he said, the Navy did put in a lot of work to make sure the virtual tours happen.

Many events, such as ship tours and the popular Qualcomm Innovation Zone, have moved online, according to a press release. An enlisted recognition dinner and a veterans art show also have gone virtual for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual enlisted service member golf tournament Monday will proceed as normal, as will a military family drive-in move night at Petco Park Saturday.

Fleet Week organizers are looking for boaters who would like to participate in the boat parade Wednesday. The parade will be led by a PCF 816 Swift Boat from the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and it will begin at Shelter Island and proceed around San Diego Bay.

Skydiving demonstrations, vintage aircraft flyovers and U.S. Coast Guard craft also will participate in Wednesday's parade.

Fleet Week San Diego is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and each year its events are supported by local military commands.

The Defense industry and the military's large presence have bolstered the San Diego economy, especially during the pandemic, and now accounts for a quarter of the county's gross regional product, according to a report released last month.

Almost 60,000 active duty sailors and 50,000 active duty Marines live in the region, with more than 30,000 local civilians employed by the Defense Department. Indirect employment linked to defense contracts adds roughly 190,000 jobs.

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