Marines to land on Ocean Beach for San Francisco Fleet Week
San Francisco Fleet Week kicks off at Ocean Beach Wednesday with an event that is sure to have people checking their eyes and plugging their ears: The Navy and Marine Corps plan to land a hovercraft on the beach.
The hovercraft, a type known as a Landing Craft Air Cushion, is 47 feet wide, nearly 88 feet long and capable of carrying several military vehicles or heavy equipment such as bulldozers. Its arrival would be noteworthy by itself, but it’s just a part of an exercise planned for the Ocean Beach and Lake Merced area Wednesday.
“The LCAC will land on Ocean Beach, simulating the delivery of emergency supplies,” said 1st Lt. Garth Langley of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
Those supplies will go to the Shock Trauma and Surgical and Resuscitation Platoon, a unit specializing in the treatment of severely injured people. The platoon will set up in the Ocean Beach parking lot across from the Beach Chalet Wednesday morning, and it will be open to the public.
“The community will be able to see the hovercraft landing on Ocean Beach, which is a rare opportunity, in addition to being able to interact with the marines and sailors,” Langley said.
In addition to the hovercraft landing and the medical tent at Ocean Beach, CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, each capable of carrying 38 people, will land near Lake Merced, then take off for Moffett Field to continue the medical exercise. The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management is also part of the exercise.
Both the hovercraft and the helicopters will come from the USS Makin Island, a Wasp-class aircraft carrier that brings 850 marines and sailors to participate in Fleet Week, according to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
The shock trauma platoon will set up in the Ocean Beach parking lot across from Golden Gate Park and the Beach Chalet starting at 8 a.m. The LCAC hovercraft is scheduled to land between 10:30 and 11 a.m., and the CH-53 helicopters are planned to depart from Lake Merced at 11:30 a.m.