Thursday, September 27, 2007

Navy Welcomes Red Bull World Series to San Diego

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) James Seward, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific
plane from the Red Bull Air Race maneuvers around a pylon on the slalom course in the San Diego bay as Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) pulls into port. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class George Labidou)

Fleet Week 2007 commenced in San Diego Harbor across from Naval Air Station North Island Sept. 22-23, with Red Bull’s World Series air racers flying in honor of Navy and Coast Guard aviation.

Before the races, Navy ships and aircraft performed an air show, conducting various demonstrations and showing spectators what the Navy does and how it works.

“This is San Diego’s first time being a part of the Red Bull Air Races,” said Cmdr. James Dimatteo, commander, Naval Air Forces adversary programs, who was also a guest commentator throughout the Navy’s air show. “We are happy to celebrate aviation with pilots who are as passionate about it as we are.”

The Navy began their pre-race air show with USS Hopper (DDG 70) sailing by thousands of race fans flying the American flag during the National Anthem. Afterwards, aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 performed a formation fly-by above the harbor.

HSC-23 and Coast Guard Sector San Diego also wowed the crowd by demonstrating their low-flying insertion and search and rescue (SAR) capabilities, flying low to drop off Navy SEALS and search and rescue swimmers into the bay.

“Being a part of the air show was a great opportunity for us as a brand new command,” said HSC-23’s Operations Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Vega. “Our performance could not have been possible without the hard work of our Sailors on the ground, who performed countless maintenance checks to insure our aircraft were safe and ready for the show.”

Fleet Week is a way to pay tribute to the 300,000 men and women who make up San Diego’s military community. The Red Bull Air Race was the first of many San Diego’s Fleet Week events. Mike Mangold, a former Air Force pilot, flies past Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during the Red Bull Air Race World Series in San Diego Harbor. The air race was held in conjunction with Fleet Week in San Diego, a weeklong tribute to the military. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher D. Blachly)