Fleet Week is a United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard tradition where active military ships recently deployed in overseas operations dock in a variety of major cities for one week. Once the ships dock, the crews can enter the city and visit its tourist attractions and the citizens can visit them.
Ships and personnel from the US Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard all docking in one place for a week amid celebration and exhibitions, commingling with the city’s civilians goes back to 1898 and the triumphant return of Commodore George Dewey from victory in Manila Bay during the useless Spanish-American War. In 1935, with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s expansion of the US Navy: 114 warships and 400 military planes carrying 3000 commissioned officers and 55,000 enlisted men descended on the California Pacific International Exposition in San Diego, for the first “Fleet Week”. Sailors toured the exhibition, and San Diego residents toured the ships and got friendly with the sailors.
Now it is a tradition in several cities. San Francisco’s culminates on Columbus Day; my city, Portland, celebrates Fleet Week during our Rose Festival in early June. Other Fleet Week cities include the major ports: Ft. Lauderdale, Baltimore, Seattle, New London, Los Angeles, Norfolk, Boston, and Honolulu.
Things are different this year with Fleet Week. The Rose Festival in Portland is canceled and because of COVID-19 and the bad behavior by many American citizens, all Fleet Week events in all cities events are moving online this year. Usually in Portland, we give a warm welcome to nearly 3,100 service members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard as they dock in the city. For reasons I never could fathom, Fleet Week has become a Gay Holiday.
J.C. Leyendecker (1874 – 1951) was prolific American illustrator who created of the iconic Arrow Collar Man. Like the later illustrator Norman Rockwell, Leyendecker is almost exclusively associated with one publication: The Saturday Evening Post. Leyendecker did over 400 magazine covers, 322 for The Saturday Evening Post. His work for U.S. military campaign posters and promotions, and his art for men’s fashion companies, most notably the Arrow Shirt Collar Co., Leyendecker created a the 20th century ideal for male beauty. His lucrative commissions paid for his cocaine and Champagne-fueled Roaring Twenties lifestyle with his longtime boyfriend and favorite model, Charles Beach. Here is his the link to his #BornThisDay.