Fort Lauderdale Fleet Week: Three Must-See Ships to Tour This Week

The 25th-annual Fort Lauderdale Fleet Week kicks off today.
The 25th-annual Fort Lauderdale Fleet Week kicks off today.
photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore via Wikimedia Commons

Fort Lauderdale Fleet Week has arrived, which means sailors, Navy vessels, and all-around awesomeness.

Ships will be rolling into Port Everglades from May 4 to 10, including an amphibious assault craft, a Coast Guard response cutter, and two legendary Navy destroyers.

Here are the coolest of those that you need to try to tour this week:

The USS Wasp is a multipurpose amphibious assault ship.
The USS Wasp is a multipurpose amphibious assault ship.
photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zachary L. Borden/Wikimedia Commons

The USS Wasp
This 844-foot vessel is a U.S. Navy multipurpose amphibious assault ship that’s seen action in Somalia and Iraq. In 1993, the Wasp was sent on an emergency deployment to Somalia for a United Nations-sanctioned intervention that brought in humanitarian aid following the killing of several Pakistani peacekeepers in the region. The Wasp was sent in to create stability and security in the area as aid was brought in. In 2004, the USS Wasp brought Marines to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Most recently, the Wasp helped in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

The 25th-annual Fort Lauderdale Fleet Week kicks off today.
The 25th-annual Fort Lauderdale Fleet Week kicks off today.
photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore via Wikimedia Commons

The USS James E. Williams
The James E. Williams is a 9200 ton Arleigh Burke-class Navy destroyer that’s seen action as part of the Global War on Terrorism Surface Strike Group. In 2007, the ship was sent as part of a rescue mission after Somali pirates took over a North Korean vessel. Six pirates were captured and one killed as the ship during the ordeal, but all those aboard the Korean ship made it. The James E. Williams provided medical relief, and supplies before heading out in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in late 2007.

The USS Cole was attacked by al-Qaeda suicide bombers in 2000.
The USS Cole was attacked by al-Qaeda suicide bombers in 2000.
photo: Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class James Elliott/Wikimedia Commons

The USS Cole
The Cole, a Aegis-equipped guided missile destroyer, is most famous for having been attacked by al-Qaeda suicide bombers off the coast of Yemen in 2000. Seventeen crew members were killed, with 39 others injured during the attack. In 2002, Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, the suspected planner of the attack, was killed by a CIA hellfire missile launched from a predator drone. In 2003, the USS Cole was redeployed. It was sent back to the Middle East in 2006. While it passed the port in Arden, where the attack took place several years before, the crew stood by the rails as it sailed by the exact spot where the attack took place in honor of their fallen crew members.

If you want to get in on taking a tour inside either of these ships, you’ll have to register online here. Registration fills up quick, so you’ll need to jump on it right away to get in.


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