Story by PO2 Vaughan Dill on 09/17/2018SPRINGFIELD Mass. Mayor Domenic Sarno read a proclamation declaring September 17-23 Navy Week, signifying the official kick-off of Springfield Navy Week.
Springfield is one of only 14 cities selected for a Navy Week and is designed to give area residents an opportunity to learn about the Navy, its people and its importance to national security and prosperity.
"We appreciate your continued service to our country, thank you for keeping us safe here and abroad," said Sarno. "We are honored to have our Servicemen and Servicewomen here in Springfield."
Mayor Sarno then proceeded to read the official proclamation.
"Whereas the United States Navy protects and defends America on the world's oceans by ensuring the free flow of commerce and information on and under the sea lanes to ensure the security of the United States economy and jobs at home . . . Therefore I Dominic J. Sarno the mayor of the city of Springfield do hereby proclaim . . . United States Navy Week in the great city of Springfield and I strongly encourage all of our citizens to not only to join in acknowledging this event, but more importantly, support our Servicemen and women who keep us safe here and abroad," said Sarno.
Patrick Carnevale, the director of Western Massachusetts Constituent Services also read a proclamation on behalf of Governor Charlie Baker adding, "The Governor and Lieutenant Governor would have loved to be here, but they are dealing with a situation in the Merrimack Valley with the explosions we had last week, they send their regrets, so I have the honor of being here today with Mayor Sarno and the Navy for this wonderful week."
Springfield Navy Week focuses a variety of outreach assets, equipment and personnel for a weeklong series of engagements with key influencers and organizations representing all sectors of the market. During this Navy Week, more than 100 outreach events were coordinated with corporate, civic, government, education, media, veterans and community service and diversity organizations throughout the city. Navy Week Springfield also coincides with the Big E, New England's Great State Fair, and the largest of its kind on the east coast.
Navy Week Springfield includes Senior Navy leadership, Sailors assigned to the city's namesake submarine, USS Springfield, hometown Sailors, jumps from the U.S. Navy parachute team the Leap Frogs', USS Constitution, Navy Band Northeast and Ceremonial Guard performances, Navy Oceanography/Meteorology displays, visits by members of Navy Recruiting District New England and the U.S. Naval Academy, a STEM display by members of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard's Sea Perch team and Navy History and Heritage Command historians and displays.
"I think it's terrific, the people, the citizenry of Springfield and Western Mass., you'll be seeing a lot of these white uniforms throughout the day at the Big E, at some school events, some Sailors are going to be visiting some Ronald McDonald houses and going out to many community events this week," said Massachusetts native William O'Donnell, Department of the Navy Assistant for Administration, and flag host for the week, while addressing the people of Springfield. "Please, stop by, say hello, see what your Sailors are doing and making this Navy a force for good throughout the globe, thank you very much and thank you for hosting us."
Following the proclamation reading, the ceremony concluded with Sailors presenting all Vietnam veterans in attendance with a Vietnam War Commemoration lapel pin recognizing their service.
"Mr. O'Donnell indicated to me that now it is less than one percent, I think it's about .8 percent of individuals that serve our country," Sarno said. "Of those, 85 to 90 percent are people whose families served our nation, and we are so indebted to each and every one of you."
Since 2005, the Navy Week program has served as the Navy's principal outreach effort in the areas of the country without a significant naval presence. More than 210 Navy Weeks have been held in 74 different U.S. cities.
For more information about Navy Week Springfield, visit www.outreach.navy.mil, or follow the hashtag #NavyWeek.