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Fort Hamilton hosts annual Fleet Week Salute

Fire away: Sergeant First Class Khrushchev Karastathis, Captain Gary Hess, Master Sgt. Stephen Hefler, and Col. Ray Mechmann of the Veterans Corps of Artillery of the State of New York operated the guns for the 11-gun salute.
Brooklyn Daily
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They fired away!

Fort Hamilton Army Base hosted its annual Salute to Ships of Fleet Week on May 23 to kick off the weeklong celebration of sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. The annual event includes an 11-gun salute to welcome the ship leading the fleet arriving in New York Harbor, according to the army base’s public affairs officer.

“Every year we welcome the fleet by doing a salute to a ship that the Navy designates,” said Catherine Santopietro.

This year, the men and women of the Veterans Corps of Artillery of the State of New York — a militia organization founded by George Washington’s artillerymen at the end of the Revolutionary War to prevent another British invasion of the city — fired off the canons to welcome the USS Arlington ship, according to the commandant.

“It’s pretty loud, but anyone close to it has ear protection,” said Col. Ray Mechmann.

The loud noise scared one youngster, according to his mother, who’s stationed at Fort Hamilton and brought her little one to the event for the first time this year.

“[The canon] startled him at first, but he was fine,” said Fire Controlman First Class Evelyn Ozuna of her 2-year-old son, Julian.

More than 1,300 students from schools around the borough took in the spectacle, along with a performance by the Coast Guard Silent Drill Team.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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