Fleet Week in Port Everglades

In an effort to inspire my 17 year-old son for his post high school future we toured the Navy’s Fleet Week in Port Everglades, Florida.  Fantastic sights to behold.


2015-05-08 11.40.25_2 Welcome to Fleet Week 2015.  Behind this sign was a huge pile of garbage and an even larger ship.  Just wait until you see what we saw….


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All aboard!  Getting ready to ‘walk the plank’ to board the USS James E. Williams.  The plank doesn’t look steep in this photo but it really was! This ship was at the end of that particular dock so the anticipation was really building up as we came closer.  By the way – the lines for the submarine were crazy long!!  There was an amphibious assault ship in port as well but we didn’t get to board that beast.

2015-05-08 10.41.27_2 That huge gun is known as “Big Alice” and it’s very impressive.  Behind it on the deck of the ship are the missile cells.  The ship was loaded and ready to defend America and her honor.   We were able to tour the room with blue lights… otherwise known as the command center where everything happens.  They didn’t allow photos in that room but it was very, very cool.  From that room they have eyes in the sky, eyes underwater, and eyes all around.  They can detect if their missiles hit their mark or not.  Their accuracy goals are to be able to hit a Volkswagen bug car about 15 miles away…. that’s pretty awesome!


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As we walked toward the USS James E. Williams ship (at the very back of this line up) we passed the USS Cole and a Coast Guard Cutter.  The Cutter was the “best dressed” ship in this grouping by far.  All of the other ships were more of the work horse types.



2015-05-08 10.46.40_2Ring my bell!  The man in charge of the deck commented on how the person in charge of keeping the bell clean fell down on the job.  He then told us a very interesting story about the actual construction of the bell.  He told us that when the bell was to be made, the makers of the bell would inscribe the names of the children born to the members of the ship that year.


2015-05-08 10.46.50_inside of bell close up

It’s hard to see but in the lower right hand area of the bell are two names scribed in the inside of the bell.  You may (or may not) be able to see the names but the name on the top is Matthew Nicholas Yokely and the name on the second line is Tyler Leo something.  Pretty cool little factoid about the inside of the bells on a ship like this.


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This monster is the amphibious assault ship.  This beast was beyond huge… over 1,000 feet long, for sure!  Take a look at how small the people are walking beside the ship for reference… plus, over 5,000 live on this ship full time.  It’ a floating city all on its own.  Very impressive!


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This photo is of the same huge monster, but more toward the back.  Here you can see one of the heli-pads and farther down on the left is the back end of this ship.  Enormous.  This ship is simply enormous.


2015-05-08 10.41.05_2From the deck of the USS James E. Williams ship the giant assault ship looks very impressive even at this distance.  Keep in mind that there are three other ships parked in between where this photo was taken and where that huge ship is…. that’s how big that ship is.  Wow.



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Well, I mentioned it earlier and here it is …. the belle of the ball.  Everyone wanted to go tour the submarine.  It was the smallest vessel there but it certainly was getting all of the attention.

All in all it was a great day.  Skies were clear and the temperature was decent.  The 17 year old that I mentioned earlier… well he did work some of the robotics the Navy had set up and he did fill out a form for more information.  I’m sure the recruiters will be calling soon especially after they see his impressive ASVAB test scores. {fingers crossed}  🙂





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