July 29, 2018

LA Fleet Week 2016

A while ago, I discussed my ride from San Diego to LA on the USS America, in preparation for the first LA Fleet Week. Obviously, I couldn't miss Fleet Week itself, which was Labor Day weekend. Besides the fact that they were screaming for tour guides due to the expected crowds, Iowa had tickets for tours. I wanted to visit the Arleigh Burke class destroyer Wayne E. Meyer, which we'd passed on our way in.

Wayne E. Meyer1

It was the busiest day I saw during my time as a tour guide, and the entire event was a huge success. The line to get into the Fleet Week pavilion, which included gift shops for the visiting ships, a STEM expo, and a bunch of other booths, went all the way from the pier to Harbor Boulevard, and the line for Iowa was nearly as long. I don't remember how many visitors we had that day, but it was a record.

America and Meyer as seen from the aft missile deck of Iowa2

The real highlight of the day was the tour of the Meyer. The line situation was very confused, but eventually I and a couple of friends from the Iowa got aboard.

Meyer from the pier

Another view of Meyer, from aft

The 5"/62 gun on the Meyer, which I pointed out was rather small

Our guide on the Meyer. I've sadly forgotten his name, but he was quite good

Meyer's superstructure, showing the bridge and the SPY-1 arrays. The VLS is visible at the bottom, although obscured by other guests

They then took the tour group up to the bridge. We saw the bridge proper, along with a lot of the equipment in the superstructure.

25 mm Bushmaster gun, used for defense against small boats

SRBOC and Nulka countermeasures amidships

Bow-on view of America, taken from the Meyer's bridge

The chart table inside the bridge

The helm and navigation displays

A pair of control consoles

The navigator's station. Interestingly, the radar display on the right is identical to several aboard Iowa

After we left the bridge, we were taken back down past the boats, and through the hangar onto the flight deck. For reasons I can't understand today, I stopped taking pictures at this point, so I'll have to use text to describe what happened.

One of Meyer's boats

The flight deck was pretty cool, as we were greeted by the gunner's mates, some of whom had gotten to go in and crank down Turret 2 on the Iowa. I was really jealous at that. We also got to play with some of their equipment, although I skipped getting into full boarding gear. They also outlined a lot of the aircraft-handling equipment, and it was rather remarkable to see how they operate a helicopter from such a tiny space.

Overall, I had a great time at Fleet Week, and the crew of the Meyer were as hospitable as the crew of America had been earlier in the week. I was really disappointed that the first day of Fleet Week 2017 was the day I drove out of LA, and I was way too busy to spare the time to go down there. It looks as if the 2021 event will be in person, which is good after the rather disappointing virtual event last year. There are also Fleet Weeks at various times of the year in San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale, New York City, Portland, Seattle, Baltimore and of course San Diego, probably the biggest and best of them all.3

1 All photos from my collection. This was taken during the ride on America.

2 The ship hadn't opened yet, so there were no visitors.

3 At least on the West Coast, which is the one that really matters. It's in late September, and includes the truly fabulous Miramar Airshow.


  1. July 29, 2018Aula said...

    "Wayne" is misspelled as "Wane" under the first picture.

  2. July 29, 2018bean said...

    Blast it, Nornagest and dndnrsn. I keep you around to catch stuff like that!


  3. August 05, 2018James Stanley said...

    Wow I was also at LA FW 2016. Looks like your tour of the Meyer was more behind-the-scenes than my tour of the America.

  4. August 05, 2018bean said...

    In fairness, Meyer is a lot smaller, and it was harder not go somewhat behind the scenes. (Also, the majority of the visitors were being routed onto the America, which I think meant less pressure for throughput.) Inside the ship, we only saw the bridge and the hangar.

    It's also possible that the Meyer's crew was better at handling visitors. America was not set up well for it when we were aboard, and while they were very gracious hosts, I doubt they got massively better in the couple days between my ride and the general public getting aboard.

    What parts of the ship did they show you? Was it just gangplank - vehicle deck - hangar deck - flight deck and then back? I'd assume they at least let you look at the aircraft on the flight deck?

  5. August 06, 2018RedRover said...


    Do you have a sense how much time/effort the crews have to put into housekeeping on a regular basis? You've mentioned before that excess paint was a big fire hazard back in WWII, so they would regularly scrape it and then repaint, but I wonder if modern paints make that less of a concern?

  6. August 06, 2018bean said...

    Do you have a sense how much time/effort the crews have to put into housekeeping on a regular basis? You’ve mentioned before that excess paint was a big fire hazard back in WWII, so they would regularly scrape it and then repaint, but I wonder if modern paints make that less of a concern?

    I couldn't put numbers on it, but I know this has been an area of some concern. Personnel have gotten expensive relative to WWII and before, so cutting down manning is a big deal. And yes, things like improved paint have helped. That said, some ships (most prominently the Spruances) have had issues where the crew wasn't big enough to take care of the ships properly.

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