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NYC’s Fleet Week features dive-tank experience in heart of Times Square: ‘Amazing’

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Fleet Week is back in the Big Apple.

Members of the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps have made their annual entry into New York City for a week of fanfare and fun leading up to Memorial Day.

A Fleet Week tradition — the U.S. Navy dive tank — returned once again to the heart of NYC’s Times Square.

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Navy divers demonstrated their service by strapping on dive gear and going for a swim in a see-through tank, waving to visitors and playing games with onlooking children.

Fox News Digital spoke to first class Navy diver Christopher Brewer at the top of the tank, who noted that a diver’s duty is to be an expert at “anything under the water.”

He said, “We dive the world over. We’re experts in salvage. We’re experts at anything under the water. If they need us to do it, we’ll do it.”

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Brewer, originally from North Pole, Alaska, said he “always wanted to serve” and do his part.

“I always loved the water,” he said. “I was a lifeguard growing up.”

The now 10-year Navy diver showed off what his crew could do during his first trip to NYC; he described meeting the community as “amazing.”

U.S. Navy diver Christopher Brewer tried on a dive helmet in New York City on May 24, 2024, at the start of Fleet Week.  (Angelica Stabile/Fox News Digital)

Brewer spoke about “having everyone walking around and interacting with us — people come and try on the helmets.”

He said, “We have the divers right here in the middle of Times Square. That’s probably one of the coolest places that you can dive … It doesn’t get much better than that.”

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People from “all over the world” have seemed “pretty interested” in what it’s like to be a Navy diver, Brewer said.

“I just like talking to people, hearing their stories and telling them what I do,” he said. 

“I’m very excited about this job and passionate about what I do and [about] serving my community and serving the people who are here. They’re all worth it.”

With global tensions at a high, Brewer said he hoped that some personal military interaction would bring a “sense of belonging” for civilians.

“We are normal people,” he said. “We’re going through the same troubling times they are.”

Master diver and senior chief Ryan Ilagan, a salvage diver of 21 years, also shared his excitement for his second Fleet Week.

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“We have Navy divers [and] EOD [explosive ordnance disposal] techs interacting with the crowd, showing our capabilities and letting the people of New York know who we are,” Ilagan, who is based in California, told Fox News Digital.

The tank demonstration conveys “appreciation” for both military personnel and civilians, Ilagan said.

The annual Parade of Ships welcomed such major vessels as the USS Bataan (LHD-5) from Norfolk, Virginia.

“It’s a great way to showcase a little bit of fun with a little bit of work,” he said. “It benefits both the civilian population and us as well.”

Many potential recruits have checked out the display and shown interest in joining America’s forces, the master diver reported.

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Brewer also acknowledged his parents, wife and daughter for the support they’ve given him while he’s served on active duty.

Fleet Week kicked off on May 22 with the annual Parade of Ships, welcoming in major vessels such as the USS Bataan (LHD-5) from Norfolk, Virginia, and the FGS Baden-Württemberg and FGS Frankfurt am Main from Germany.

memorial day billboard in times square

A Memorial Day message is displayed in Times Square on May 24, 2024. (Angelica Stabile/Fox News Digital)

The week continued with a World Trade Center Freedom Run, a re-commitment ceremony and other events.

In addition to a slew of exciting experiences, Brewer and Ilagan agreed that one of their favorite parts has been enjoying New York City delicacies, including bagels and pizza. 

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“We went to Joe’s [Pizza] last night,” Brewer mentioned. “It’s amazing pizza. Dave Portnoy, if you’re listening, I give them a 7.8.”

Ilagan added, “The people in New York are wonderful. The food is amazing, the culture, the diversity.”

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