Fleet Week: Female sailors take Manhattan


As Fleet Week enters its final stretch, these girls really do just want to have fun.

Metro accompanied two Navy servicewomen and one Marine on their tour about town to take a peek at the female side of Fleet Week, which wraps up Wednesday.

“Pulling in on the ship, seeing Ground Zero, the Empire State Building, the whole skyline, it was beautiful,” Navy servicewoman Gabrielle Milly, 26, said of seeing New York for the first time.

A leave on dry land was welcome. Milly, like other sailors on the USS Iwo Jima currently docked at Pier 88, spends most of her time several levels below the surface of the ship.

“There are days when I don’t see the light of day,” said Petty Officer Third Class Natasha Chalk, 27.
As soon as she was off the ship, Chalk beelined it to Times Square for a slice of pepperoni pizza. Up next was the trio’s first-ever trip on the subway to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After that, it was a stop for cupcakes.

And the servicewomen, in their crisp khaki uniforms, were exposed to another signature aspect of New York City in the summer: catcalls from men on the street. “Looking good, ladies!” shouted a man on 49th Street.

“It happens so much I ignore it,” said Chalk.

What’s it like to be a female soldier?

There are 2,320 sailors and Marines onboard the USS Iwo Jima. About 25 percent, or 573, of those are women. The servicewomen said differences in physical strength are the most apparent.

“A lot of women fought for these rights, but if I can’t physically pick something up, someone should help,” said Natasha Chalk of on-board equality. “Sometimes, people watch you struggle.”

One of the best compliments a female service member could hope for is to be seen as a man, said Milly.

“They say, ‘You’re the man.’ I’m not a man, but it makes me feel good anyway,” said Milly.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.


Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…


Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…


Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.


Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…


'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.


Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.


Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.


Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.


Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.


When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.


Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.


Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…


The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…


Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.


Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…