"River Cities" Host the First Navy Week of 2015 - U.S. Navy parachute demonstration team, the Leap Frogs.
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jamal McNeill, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Bossier City-Shreveport Navy Week begins April 27 and will continue through May 3.
Navy Weeks focus a variety of assets, equipment and personnel on a single city for a week-long series of engagements designed to bring America's Navy closer to the people it protects, in cities that don't have a large naval presence.
The events and special programs to be held throughout the "River Cities" are the culmination of planning and preparation over many months by the Navy Office of Community Outreach, multiple Navy assets and community leaders.
"Our planning for this Navy Week started in January," said Gary Ross, the primary planner for Bossier City-Shreveport Navy Week. "This Navy Week will be a rock-solid schedule of school visits, flag officer engagements and multiple community relations projects."
Rear Adm. Jones, Reserve director, Logistics Programs and Business Operations, will receive a joint mayoral proclamation Tuesday at Airline High School to declare Navy Week. This free event will begin at 7 p.m. with the U.S. Navy parachute demonstration team, the Leap Frogs, jumping into the school's football stadium. There will also be a full band concert from U.S. Navy Band Southwest and local residents taking the oath of enlistment.
"I look forward to the amount of high schools we will jump into," said Petty Officer 1st Class T.J. Amdahl, Leap Frogs lead petty officer. "Participating in this Navy Week is a great way to showcase the ability of the Navy and bring awareness of the Navy to the kids at these schools."
The Leap Frogs will perform five jumps at area high schools and one at the Bossier Parrish Community College.
"A lot of kids have never seen a parachute team perform but have heard about or seen Navy SEALs on television," said Amdahl. "It's a unique opportunity to actually get to see us jump into their school's stadiums and talk to us in person."
Not only will Navy Band Southwest and Leap Frogs perform during the week, but Sailors from USS Constitution, the ballistic-missile submarine USS Louisiana (SSBN 743), and Naval Recruiting District Houston are scheduled to participate in numerous outreach events.
USS Louisiana Sailors will visit Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Medical Center Tuesday to visit with Bossier City and Shreveport veterans.
"It's always important to make sure we reach out to our community partners and form a relationship," said Reggie Hardy, chief of voluntary at the medical center. "Our veterans love it when they get visitors and it really makes their day."
Historically, Navy Week events draw thousands of attendees to participate and create a dialogue between Sailors and local residents.
"I am used to the Air Force being here since I have lived in the Shreveport and Bossier City area my whole life," said Brandon Addis, a 28-year-old lifetime Shreveport resident. "It will be nice to experience and learn more about the Navy."
Navy senior leaders are also scheduled to participate in Navy Week events. Louisiana native Rear Adm. Keith Jones, reserve director, Logistics Programs and Business Operations; Cmdr. Benjamin Finney, executive officer, Navy Recruiting District Houston; and Lt. Cmdr. Maura Thompson, supply officer, USS Louisiana, and one of the first female submariners, will conduct several engagements throughout the area.
As a part of Navy senior leaders scheduled events, the Shreveport Optimist Club will host Thompson Friday to speak about life in the Navy and on board a submarine.
"We are tremendously honored to be selected to have members of the Navy come and speak to us," said Ernestine Schram, Shreveport Optimist Club member.
She explained that without a port in the area, there is a lot left to learn about the Navy and the entire organization looks forward to doing just that.
To ensure the Navy remains ready to defend America at all times, it is investing in cutting edge innovations in weapons systems, multi-mission ships and submarines, and next generation of strike, patrol and electronic warfare aircraft. This is because we want to be there where it matters, when it matters, and with the right tools to get the job done.
Bossier City-Shreveport Navy Week is the first of 12 Navy Weeks in 2015.
For more information about Bossier City/Shreveport Navy Week, visit www.navyoutreach.org.
Official U.S. Navy file photo