This is Navy Week in Mobile. And yes, it's Mardi Gras.
Timing is everything, isn't it?
Let's show them how Mardi Gras is done and make these sailors feel at home. If you see a sailor, ask them where they're from, thank them for their service, and make sure they catch plenty of Moonpies and beads!
And don't miss out on some really cool events... like the Navy Dive Tank at Mardi Gras Park this Thursday thru Fat Tuesday. (You can play Tic Tac Toe with the diver inside the tank!!)
Plus the Navy Band is participating in parades Friday through Fat Tuesday.
Here's the info:
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Mobile, Alabama, will serve as the first stop for the Navy Week program in 2019, bringing Sailors and assets to the city in conjunction with the country’s oldest carnival festival, Feb. 27-March 5.
Navy Weeks, coordinated by the Navy Office of Community Outreach, are designed to give Americans the opportunity to learn about the Navy, its people, and its importance to national security and prosperity. Since 2005, the Navy Week program has served as the Navy's flagship outreach effort into areas of the country without a significant Navy presence, providing the public a firsthand look at the Navy the nation needs.
Rear Adm. Ronald Fritzemeier, chief engineer of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, will share the Navy’s message with local civic organizations, businesses and community groups.
"I look forward to visiting Mobile to help illustrate how our Navy, our Sailors from all around the country who specialize in a staggering variety of professional specialties, protect and defend America and its interests worldwide," said Fritzemeier.
This year marks the second Navy Week in the Port City, with the last taking place in 2017.
Navy Weeks play a vital role in connecting the American public with a large array of sailors, assets and equipment. The weeklong event strives to engage with local communities who do not have frequent visibility of the Navy.
“Mobile is a great city, steeped in a lot of Navy history, so we look forward to learning about that during our time in Mobile, but also showcasing the pride and professionalism of our Navy today," said Lt. David Carter, the lead planner for Mobile Navy Week. "Through nearly 100 events this week, we'll provide the local public a snapshot of the men and women making up our Navy force, as well as highlight their expertise in the field through demonstrations, performances, and face-to-face discussions. I'm confident we'll not only leave Mobile more informed on our service, but leave them reassured that their Navy is in good hands."
Sailors participating come from a wide range of commands, demonstrating the Navy’s versatility and vitality in protecting and defending America around the world, around the clock.
Among those participating will be the Sailors from the oldest American warship, USS Constitution; Navy Band Southeast; Navy explosive ordnance disposal teams; the Navy Office of Small Business Programs; Navy oceanographic and meteorology teams; Naval History and Heritage Command and hometown Sailors.
Mobile Navy Week will provide local residents the experience of touring a Navy warship ported in the city during the week. Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) will provide the community a glimpse of what life is like on a naval vessel, as well as an opportunity talk to the Sailors who have committed themselves to protecting America.
“We’re excited to connect with the local community, and at the same time learn about and embrace the Mardi Gras culture,” said Cmdr. Joseph Fals, commanding officer of James E. Williams.
Operations Specialist Seaman Dalton Thomas, a native of Mobile and Sailor aboard James E. Williams, expressed his enthusiasm to bring the Navy home with him.
“I’m excited to pull into this historic site and have my family finally see me in uniform,” said Thomas. “My friends and I used to go to Mardi Gras every other year in high school, but this will be my first time going with my ship!”
The week’s events will include school presentations, public band performances, ship tours, community service projects, parade participation and expeditionary demonstrations.
During the week, Sailors will also visit eight local high schools, where students will have the opportunity to visit the Burke, a large state-of-the-art, mobile virtual reality experience that simulates a Navy SEAL extraction mission. Sailors will share high-tech, virtual reality goggles with students during in-classroom presentations and talk to them about life after graduation and answer questions about careers and education funding.
“Our primary focus during Navy Weeks is always outreach,” said Carter. “But we’ve discovered over the years, through those efforts, that the young men and women we interact with often want to know more, and sometime even how they can join our team. In those cases, we’ll certainly make sure we have the right resources available for them.”
(Photo courtesy of US Navy)
Last year, I had the honor of riding into Mobile on board the official Mardi Gras Ship, the USS Philippine Sea. What an experience! And what a great crew, all of whom were ready for some Mardi Gras!