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Fleet Week under way
October 05, 2012, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff

Nick Rose/Daily Journal The U.S. Navy landed a hovercraft on Ocean Beach in San Francisco to kickoff Fleet Week Wednesday.

Garth Langley

Fleet Week has been busy for Garth Langley, first lieutenant with the U.S. Marines.

He spent Wednesday on Ocean Beach showing press and officials, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the features of a Navy hovercraft and its mobile surgery center as a kickoff to the annual event that officially began yesterday.

The hovercraft, also known as a Landing Craft Air Cushion or LCAC can deliver supplies, equipment and personnel to San Francisco and other U.S. cities if a major earthquake or other disaster takes out roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. The hovercraft has been used to respond to humanitarian crises such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, according to the Associated Press.

"It’s basically a mobile surgery center that we can set up anywhere in the world in about an hour,” Langley told the Associated Press.

But Fleet Week also provides Langley an opportunity to come home. The 24-year-old, who celebrates his 25th birthday Monday, grew up all around the Bay Area. But, he considers San Carlos home and spent a number of years volunteering with the San Mateo Police Department. It’s with the police department that Langley felt he gained the leadership training necessary to be successful in the military. This weekend he’s returning to the Bay Area while on active duty to be part of Fleet Week. His hope is people take the chance this weekend to learn about the military beyond the annual air show.

"Coming back to the Bay Area is a matter of personal pride and professional challenge,” said Langley.

Langley enjoys the ability to show off the patriotism of the Bay Area with others in the military. Professionally, he’s handling press while in town. So often Langley will meet someone with a family member in the Marines but no idea what that person’s job is. This weekend, Langley said, is a chance for anyone to learn a little bit more.

Langley’s introduction to the military came from his grandfather’s brother, who served in the Pacific. He also gained insight about the possible opportunities through the military over the years.

Langley moved around a lot in his youth. He’s lived all over the Bay Area and attended Aragon High School but graduated in Washington state, when he went to live with his father. After graduation, Langley returned to the Bay Area and started taking classes at California State University, East Bay. He considered enrolling in the reserves but learned of the Officer Candidates School, which would allow Langley to train while continuing his studies. It was like the option was tailor-made for his goals. Langley benefited from the training here.

He also benefited from working with the San Mateo Police Department for years. Langley recalled first walking into the Delaware Street headquarters at 13, barely able to see over the counter. He was recruited to join cadets. Over a number of years, Langley took advantage of the option to volunteer in different areas of the police department including the Police Activities League.

When he became commissioned last summer in San Carlos, many of the police officers came to show their support. Now, Langley is based at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

Returning to the Bay Area is a welcome challenge for Langley. He enjoys the ability to come home and represent the local area, as well as highlight the good the Marines are doing. For example, there will be a live military workout demo Saturday morning. Friday, Marines will work with local law enforcement during a training exercise with rescue dogs on Treasure Island. And, on Sunday morning, there will be a demonstration of the K9 services at Pier 80.

And, of course, the Blue Angels will show their flying precision up in the sky through Sunday.

Fleet Week is held in San Francisco from Oct. 4 through Oct. 8. A schedule of all events is available online. For more information about Fleet Week visit

Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.

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