Navy Region Southwest Band, Ceremonial Guard Perform during Fleet Week 2012
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dominique Pineiro, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
OAKLAND, Calif. - The Navy Region Southwest Band from San Diego and the Navy Ceremonial Guard from Washington, DC performed at Jack London Square during a concert to honor East Bay veterans, Oct. 5, as part of San Francisco Fleet Week (SFFW) 2012.

SFFW 2012 is scheduled from, Oct. 3-8, and will bring more than 2,500 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen from four ships to the city of San Francisco in order to highlight the personnel, technology and capabilities of the sea services.

The concert was the only Navy event scheduled in Oakland, and its part of the SFFW Association's bigger plans to expand fleet week into other parts of the Bay area.

"It's a big deal and very important, this is something that the Mayor of Oakland asked (the commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet) if he can support," said Geoff Collins, a member on the board of directors for the SFFW Association. "The City of Oakland was very cooperative because they wanted to host an event and the Navy met every one of our needs and this has turned into a great event. This is a great outreach (project) and hopefully the Navy will do more at fleet week here next year."

Rear Adm. Gerard P. Hueber, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, addressed the crowd during intermission, and spoke about the importance of the Navy's role in safeguarding the Nation's economy by ensuring the sea lanes remain secure, open and free.

Following the admiral's speech, the ceremonial guard performed for the crowd. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Richard Williams, assigned to Navy Recruiting District San Francisco and officer-in-charge of the event, said having the guard perform serves as a recruiting tool and could inspire some of the younger audience members.

"It shows every young man or woman that, 'hey, I can be part of this,' because these guys are 18 or 19 years old and they're very sharp, and professional," he said. "I think this definitely helps with recruiting and it shows the Navy is 100 percent committed in bringing more awareness to Oakland."

Kimberly Gerhart, a future Sailor currently in the Navy's delayed-entry program, echoed William's sentiment, saying the performance from the band and the ceremonial guard increased her excitement about enlisting in the Navy.

"My favorite part was the band, they were most impressive and it was motivating," she said. "I definitely want to be part of something bigger than myself and now I can't wait for boot camp."

Ships taking part in SSFW 2012 include the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), the guided missile destroyers USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Spruance (DDG 111) and the U.S. Coast Guard high endurance cutter Sherman (WHEC 720).

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