St. Louis Selected for 2014 Navy Week

America’s Navy is coming home to St. Louis in 2014, one of six cities selected to host a Navy Week, one of the Navy’s signature outreach programs.

St. Louis Navy Week is scheduled for Apr. 28 – May 4, 2014, coincident with the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show, and is designed to give area residents an opportunity to learn about the Navy, its people and its importance to national security and prosperity.  The Navy plans to include the following elements in the week-long celebration:

– “Blue Angels,” The Navy Flight Demonstration Team
– “Leap Frogs,” The Navy Parachute Team
– Navy Divers and or Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams
– Sailors from USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world
– Navy Band musical performances
– Admirals and other senior Navy leaders, who will engage with local corporate, civic, government and education leaders
– Navy simulator(s) and other interactive displays
– Visits to area schools
– Community service projects and events with local sports franchises
– Visits with local veterans

Since 2005, the Navy Week program has served as the Navy’s signature outreach effort into areas of the country which do not have a significant Navy presence, with 148 Navy Weeks being held in 62 different U.S. cities.

“Navy Weeks are designed to help Americans understand that their Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans, that their Navy is deployed around the world around the clock, and is ready to defend America at all times,” said Cmdr. Kim Marks, Director of the Navy Office of Community Outreach, which plans and executes the Navy Week program.  “Because the Navy is concentrated primarily on both coasts, we’re challenged to communicate our mission away from fleet concentration areas. That’s where the Navy Week program comes in.”

Navy Weeks focus a variety of outreach assets, equipment and personnel on a single city for a week-long series of engagements with key influencers and organizations representing all sectors of the market. During a Navy Week, 75-100 outreach events are coordinated with corporate, civic, government, education, media, veterans, community service and diversity organizations in the city.

The Navy Week program returns following a year in which sequestration and its impact on outreach spending forced the program to be suspended.  Pentagon officials announced a plan Oct. 18 that enables the military services to resume conducting community and public outreach activities in 2014, albeit at a significantly reduced capacity.

“Community and public outreach is a crucial Departmental activity that reinforces trust and confidence in the United States Military and in its most important asset – people,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in an internal memorandum to service chiefs and other military leaders.  “These proactive engagements showcase our superior combat power, demonstrate readiness to defend the nation, and help to preserve the all-volunteer force.”

Other cities selected to host a 2014 Navy Week include: Dallas / Fort Worth; Pittsburgh; Omaha, Neb.; Mobile, Ala.; and Baltimore.