The San Francisco 49ers plan to celebrate San Francisco Fleet Week with a memorable Sunday afternoon of family entertainment. The 49ers return to Candlestick Park on Oct. 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1:05 p.m. The game sponsor is Symetra Financial.
The modern San Francisco Fleet Week tradition began 30 years ago and is designed to honor the 10,000 members of the United Naval Forces that will be in port from October 6-11. Fleet Week also provides an opportunity for Bay Area Governments and the U.S. Naval Forces leadership to update disaster relief plans to deal with natural or manmade disasters that may occur in the Bay Area.
Highlights for 2011 will include a parade of ships sailing through the Golden Gate, precision flying by the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and several other air teams, tours of Navy ships, and concerts performed by the Navy and Marine Corps bands. There will be a "Band Challenge" music event that will encourage competition between Bay Area high school bands and a Marine Corps Band that will be visiting San Francisco.
For the first time in recent memory the 49ers have a home game during Fleet Week and will honor America's naval service personnel in a variety of ways:
- The national anthem will be performed by U.S. Coast Guard Lt. J.G. Stuart Ambrose, currently stationed at Port Security Unit 311 based in San Pedro, Calif. In addition to being a decorated service man, Lt. J.G. Ambrose is professional singer/actor and has performed in numerous television shows and on theatre and concert stages across the country.
- There will be a flyover of two EA-6B Prowlers from VAQ-129 "The Vikings," from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.
- During halftime ceremonies 20 new recruits from Central and Northern California will take their official Oath of Enlistment to military service. The ceremony will be conducted by Bay Area native Captain Bill Byrne, whose decorations include Legion of Merit, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation and Achievement Medals and various unit and service awards. Capt. Byrne is from Pacifica and was North Peninsula League football player of the year. He was the starting quarterback for the United States Naval Academy for three years and still holds the record for most career touchdown passes.
- The 1st Marine Division Band from Camp Pendleton will perform at halftime. Organized in the early 1940s, the band has performed all over the world in support of many military operations. It has also performed in major events including the Tournament of Roses Parade and President Reagan's 100th Birthday Celebration.
- U.S. Airman First Class Megan Hokaj, stationed at Travis Air Force Base, will join the 1st Marine Division Band with a performance of God Bless the U.S.A.
The 49ers are helping to raise money for the Fleet Week organization. Fans can go to www.49ers.com/fleetweek and enter the password "fleetweek" and a portion of their ticket purchase will be donated directly to Fleet Week. These tickets are limited. For more information on Fleet Week, go to: www.fleetweek.us
"The 49ers are very excited to be able to participate in San Francisco's Fleet Week activities," said Ali Towle, Director of Marketing. "It has been a pleasure working with the Fleet Week organizers and we are thrilled to honor the brave men and women who serve our country. We hope our game will not only bring attention to their service but also provide enjoyment to those military personnel in attendance."
49ers Faithful are asked to participate in coat drives for the next two home games against Tampa Bay and Cleveland. Fans can donate gently used coats by delivering them at the stadium gates when entering Candlestick Park.
After earning a road win at Cincinnati last Sunday, the 49ers are 2-1 on the season and leading the NFL West Division. The team will play at Philadelphia on Sunday before returning home to face Tampa Bay.