Though New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco host military parades in their harbors, Fleet Week in San Diego was first.
On May 29, 1935 a U.S. Marine Corps color guard-led parade crossed the Cabrillo Bridge, raised the flag at the Plaza Del Pacifico in Balboa Park, and the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition was officially opened. President Roosevelt spoke by telephone over the event loudspeakers: “No one can fail to feel the inspiration of your high purpose. I wish you great success."
A few weeks later in early June, what was called the “mightiest fleet ever assembled under the U.S. flag arrived. — 114 warships and 400 military planes along with 55,000 enlisted men and 3,000 officers.
Eighty-two years later, Fleet Week in San Diego is full of activities. The Military Party on the Pier on October 12 at Broadway Pier kicks off the week with performances by the USO Show Troupe and “beach country” artist Tim Hurley. On Friday, the 13th from 6-9 p.m., the USO Troupe and Hurley hit the Marina Park stage. The Air and Sea Parade runs from noon until 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, the 14th, and Navy cruisers, amphibious ships, destroyers, frigates, submarines, landing craft, Coast Guard Search and Rescue ships will fill San Diego Bay.
That same morning, the 14th, from 6:30–9:30 a.m. at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, the Boot Camp Challenge invites the public to an obstacle course used only by Marine recruits while drill instructors provide direction and encouragement.