U.S. Navy rocks out for Tampa Navy Week
By Mitch Traphagen
TAMPA — The city of Tampa has declared March 15-21 Tampa Navy Week in a ceremony on Monday that included a live outdoor concert from the Navy band “Pride.”
Tampa is one of 20 cities across the nation chosen to host Navy Week this year. The event began on March 12 with tours of the SS American Victory and the swearing in of new recruits.
“This is a way for people to learn how the Navy works and to see where their tax dollars are going,” said Lt. Dave Hecht, field officer for the Navy Office of Community Outreach.
Navy Week is a community outreach effort by the U.S. Navy involving a wide variety of activities throughout the area. Crew from the USS Florida, a guided missile submarine, some of whom are Tampa Bay natives, were on hand throughout the week in schools and other venues for everything from cooking to parachute demonstrations and activities with Navy Seals and divers. The week ends with aerial performances from the Blue Angels during the MacDill Airfest on Saturday and Sunday.
The events are designed to provide an opportunity for the public to meet and get acquainted with Navy service members.
Public events on Thursday include sailors volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity home in Tampa and a parachute demonstration into Steinbrenner Field by the Leap Frogs during a spring training game.
On Friday, crew members from the USS Florida will be on hand during the Tampa Downtown Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At noon, “Pride” will give a free concert at Channelside, along with free tours of a U.S. Coast Guard vessel. At 5 p.m., Vice Admiral Samuel Locklear will moderate a forum at the University of South Florida on how the U.S. Navy has evolved since World War II. Also at 5 p.m., “Bowling for Sailors” will take place at Splitsville Lanes at Channelside.
Admission is free for the MacDill Airfest, gates open at 8 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
For more information and a complete schedule of Navy Week events, visit www.navyweek.org/tampa2010.