Metro Detroit Councils Lend Hand To Help Launch ‘Navy Week’

Metro Detroit Councils Lend Hand To Help Launch ‘Navy Week’

Atkinson, Peter

Major league baseball games, movie screenings and river cruises highlighted the inaugural Detroit Navy Week in mid-July. The event was one of a number of “Navy Weeks” planned this year throughout the country by the Navy’s new Office of Community Outreach, which is based out of Millington, Tenn., and tasked with promoting the Navy in areas where the service has limited exposure.

The Detroit Metropolitan Council and area Navy Leaguers lent a hand during a number of Navy Week events around the city, most notably working with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) to make the training ship USNSCS Grayfox available for tours and cruises.

“The weather was great and we had some great public relations opportunities. It was great networking with the Navy League and the Sea Cadets,” said James Semerad, area president and national director with the Detroit Metropolitan Council. “Overall, we had more than 200 people on the Grayfox over the last couple days.”

For much of the week, the Grayjox, the largest Sea Cadet training ship in the United States, was moored at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. It played host to the Detroit Metropolitan Council’s “Friends of the Navy Cruise” on July 18 as well as an educational cruise for a group of children sponsored by Focus: HOPE, a community outreach program based in Detroit, to show them what life is like aboard a Navy ship.

The Grayfox, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. William Barndhart, NSCC, is homeported in Port Huron, Mich., and serves all of Michigan’s Sea Cadet divisions.

Vice Adm. Terry Etnyre, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, was special guest on a VIP cruise aboard the Grayfox. Earlier, he visited Focus: HOPE facilities and met with Navy League leadership at a program luncheon.

Etnyre also threw out the first pitch during the Detroit Tigers’ “U.S. Navy Night” game at Comerica Park against the Minnesota Twins July 21 – the Tigers lost 10-5. Prior to the game, he conducted the oath of enlistment to a group of Delayed Entry Program members outside the ballpark.

Other Navy Week activities included the Detroit APBA Gold Cup hydroplane races on the Detroit River, a screening of the movie “Stealth,” the opportunity to see the Navy’s Blue Angels at the nearby Muskegon Air Show and a chance to play in former Tigers manager Sparky Anderson’s “Catch” Charity Golf Tournament, in which the Navy League sponsored Navy participation.

Houston Division Sea Cadet Grads See Future in Military Service

All eight of the high school graduates who mustered out of the Houston Division of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps early this summer will be going into some form of the military service in the fall.

Noting it was “a very unusual situation,” since continued military service is not a Sea Cadet obligation, Lt. j.g. Susan Kratt, administrative officer for the Houston Division, said the graduates will, in some fashion, represent each of the service branches. Two of the graduates are headed to U.S. military academies, she said.

“We are proud of the fine tradition of our division and very proud of this outstanding group of graduating seniors,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gary Williamson, NSCC, the division’s commanding officer. The Houston Division is sponsored by the Greater Houston Council, whose president is Joe T. Coleman.

The graduates are:

* Michael Akopdganov, a member of the Houston Division since April 2000, who reached the rank of petty officer second class. Akopdganov will attend the University of Houston and go through the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class, which will earn him a commission as a second lieutenant in the Corps upon graduation. He will report to Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va., every summer for the next four years and, upon graduation, report to The Basic School, also in Quantico.

* Dana Eaton, a member of the division for five years, who reached the rank of petty officer first class. Eaton has enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin and plans to apply for the Navy’s Officer Candidate School upon graduation.

* Patrick Foley, a member of the division since September 1999, reached the rank of chief petty officer, the highest attainable rank. Foley has accepted a Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps Scholarship and will attend Cornell University. He hopes to enter the Navy’s flying program upon graduation.

* Vicky Fife, who graduated through a home school program, was a member of the division for three years and reached the rank of petty officer first class. She has committed to the Delayed Entry Program with the U.S. Coast Guard and left for boot camp at Camp May N.J., in June.

* Karl Kratt was a member of the division since January 2001 and reached the rank of chief petty officer. Kratt has accepted an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He reported for Basic Cadet Training June 30. Upon graduation, Kratt will receive his commission as a second lieutenant and hopes to enter basic flight training.

* Riley Walls was a member of the division since October 2000 and reached the rank of chief petty officer. Walls was recently selected Cadet of the Year and has accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Walls reported for “plebe summer” June 29. Upon graduation, he plans on taking the Marine option and receive his commission as a second lieutenant.

* Joey Womack was in the division since May 2000 and attained the rank of petty officer first class. After achieving a perfect score on his Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, Womack chose to join the U.S. Army. He reported to boot camp at Fort Benning, Ga., June 23.

* Andrew Yarov was a member of the division for five years and reached the rank of petty officer second class. He has committed to serve in the Marine Corps, and was to report to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Aug. 22.

Chartered in 1961, the Houston Division was one of the first Sea Cadet units. It presently drills at the Naval/Marine Reserve Center on Old Spanish Trail in Houston and trains aboard the training ship Sanjacinto.

Clark Speaks At Mayport Midway Commemoration

Outgoing Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark was on hand as the principal guest speaker at the Mayport, Fla., Council’s eighth annual commemoration of the U.S. victory at Midway June 4.

More than 400 people attended the event, which was held at the Radisson Riverwalk hotel in Jacksonville on the 63rd anniversary of the Battle of Midway. The commemoration was sponsored by the Mayport Council and the Greater Jacksonville United Services Organization. The annual event honors veterans of the Battle of Midway, a number of whom were in attendance. Midway veteran retired Cmdr. Dr. Harold “Hal” Buel was a guest speaker. He was introduced by Rear Adm. Annette E. Brown, commander, Navy Region Southeast.

The evening was emotional and patriotic, according to Pat Pumphrey, Mayport Council’s publicity chairwoman. Clark spoke of the sacrifices made by those who fought at the Battle of Midway, and how that same spirit carries over to current war on terrorism.

The Navy Band Southeast “Big Band” provided music for the event. Colors were presented by Naval Station Mayport Color Guard. The evening featured a welcome and introduction of the master of ceremonies, Arthur Crofton, by David Van Saun, Midway Committee Chairman. The invocation was given by Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Dedra Bell.

Clark was introduced by retired Vice Adm. Michael P. Kalleres. Clark, who retired July 22, also was presented with the key to the City of Jacksonville by Mayor John Peyton and an award by Battle of Midway veteran Bill Roy.

Short Bursts

* The Sarasota-Manatee, Fla., Council adopted U.S. Coast Guard Station Cortez in a ceremony May 7 that included station crewmembers, government representatives, Navy Leaguers, Coast Guardsmen and Coast Guard Auxiliary members from around the area. Council President Terry Simmons presented the certificate of adoption to Chief Boatswain’s Mate Jonathan Brown, the station’s commander. Guest speakers included Navy League Florida Region President Robert J. Silah and Capt. Daniel A. Neptum, commander, Coast Guard Group St. Petersburg. The Coast Guard Auxiliary Color Guard presented the colors at the event.

* The San Diego County Women’s Council adopted the newly established Helicopter Maritime Strike Weapons School at Naval Air Station North Island. Council President Joan Mitchell presented the adoption certificate to Cmdr. Michael Hammond, commanding officer at the school, May 5. Hammond reciprocated with a plaque to the council in honor of the adoption. The school is the helicopter community’s equivalent to Navy’s “Top Gun” school for jet pilots.

* The Stockton, Calif., Council’s Pacific Division adopted the California Maritime Academy training ship Golden Bear in an April 2 ceremony attended by more than 80 Pacific Central Region Navy Leaguers. Pacific Division President Kate Walters presented Academy Superintendent Rear Adm. William Eisenhardt and Capt. John Keever, captain of the Golden Bear, with the adoption certificate. Pacific Central Region President Jeanne Sharkey was a speaker at the event. Keever invited the Pacific Division to embark on the Golden Bear when the ship sails during Fleet Week 2005 in October.

By PETER ATKINSON, Deputy Editor

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Copyright Navy League of the United States Sep 2005

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