NEW YORK (AP) – A petite dancer, hair and makeup perfect, jumped into the arms of a willing Marine. Another, tottering on heels that required training to walk in, smiled brightly for the cameras and gave a happy sailor a peck on the cheek.

It wasn’t quite “On the Town,” the classic 1949 musical starring Gene Kelly about three sailors loose in New York. But for some, the event Thursday in Times Square with two dancers from the hit show “Monty Python’s Spamalot” was pretty close.

For the fourth year in a row, Panasonic organized a treat for some of the 6,000 servicemen and servicewomen visiting for Fleet Week.

The visitors were invited to Times Square to have their pictures taken for families and friends back home. Photos of the servicemen were projected onto the giant Panasonic screen above Times Square, and live images were broadcast through the Internet so loved ones could watch them in real time. Some photographs will be sent to the sailors’ hometown newspapers across the country, organizers said.

It was a welcome break from hard work on ships and long stretches away from home, some said.

Airman Dominick Bianchi, 22, from Westbrookville, N.Y., spends his days inspecting aircraft and helping launch planes off the flight deck of the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy.

“It’s really nerve-racking,” he said of his job. “You have to keep your head on a swivel at all times.”

Sporting their crisp white uniforms and clearly enjoying the bustle of Times Square, Bianchi and two shipmates posed for pictures with the dancers. The JFK returned from the Persian Gulf last December after a stressful six-month tour of duty, crew members said.

“I don’t know where we’re actually going next,” said Bianchi’s shipmate Petty Officer 3rd Class Chris Day, 20, from Chapel Hill, N.C. “But this has been fun.”


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