Blue Angels practice over SF for Fleet Week


The Navy's Blue Angels warmed up over the bay Thursday to the delight of anyone who happened to be outside at the time.

Rich Wall has been coming to the Marina green the Thursday and Friday before weekend performances for 14 years to avoid the crowds.

"The speed, the sound, I follow a lot of air shows this time of year but this is my favorite because it's in my hometown," Wall said.

The USS Makin Island is berthed at Pier 30. Thursday it was the meeting place for military top brass and Bay Area leaders for a summit on disaster response.

"Our reverse water osmosis purification units can produce up to 200 gallons of fresh water a day, transported by helicopter or amphibious vehicle bringing fresh water in an emergency," Capt. Jim Landers said.

"If San Francisco is in trouble, has an issue, your friends in the military are ready to help out absolutely," Col. Michael Hudson said.

Hudson was born in San Francisco, and graduated from San Jose State. He now commands the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, out of Camp Pendleton. He remembers Fleet Week as a kid.

"I do remember coming up and watching the Blues fly, seeing the ships come in, it was a great time," Hudson said.

Visitors will be able to get up close to the Marine's newest combat helicopters on the flight deck. Other transport helicopters, known as "frogs" were the workhorses of Vietnam.

"Every once in a while we'll have some vets say, 'Hey, is that a museum or is it still?' and they'll come in and have some very emotional recollections of being brought out of the fire," Lt. Col. Edward Jeep said.

The USS Makin Island will open its doors to the public Friday morning.

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