U.S. Navy Week in South Mississippi, April 1-8, is expected to be the biggest of the year, starting with a celebration of Mississippi’s Bicentennial Celebration and ending with Seabee Day and a salute to the 75th anniversary of the Seabees.
Navy Band performances and jumps by the U.S. Navy Parachute Team Leap Frogs are among the highlights of events that will extend across the Coast from Pascagoula to Infinity Science Center, raising awareness of the Navy, its mission and its people.
The Leap Frogs have several jumps planned, but for Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes and Jonathan Daniels, director of the Port of Gulfport, the one Monday will be the most memorable. The two will be jumping out of a plane with the Leap Frogs sometime between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m., doing a tandem jump and landing at Jones Park.
Hewes will kick off Navy Week on Saturday during the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration, at a ceremony to present the Mississippi Gulf Coast Navy Week proclamation.
A Navy dive simulator, helicopters and Seabee equipment will be on display Friday and Saturday during the Bicentennial Celebration, said Brian Lamar, public affairs officer at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, and he said Seabees will be there to explain how they are used.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Navy Week will be hosted by two senior Navy leaders with connections to the region. Rear Adm. Bret Muilenburg, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command and chief of the Civil Engineer Corps, was stationed in Gulfport. He and Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command as Stennis Space Center, will serve as flag hosts.
“This region has supported our Seabees throughout their history, and the people certainly supported me during my time here,” Muilenburg said. “It’s always important for the Navy to share our mission with citizens in local communities, but it is a distinct pleasure to share that mission and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Seabees in such a special place.”
This is the third of 15 Navy Weeks this year, and will end with Seabee Day on April 8, honoring the 75th anniversary of the “Can Do” men and women of the Naval Construction Force at the Seabee Base in Gulfport from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Along with free carnival rides for the kids all day will be music, displays and a chance for visitors to interact with U.S. Navy sailors.
Navy Week events
April 1: Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration, Centennial Plaza, Gulfport 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
April 2: Navy Day at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Gulfport. Noon-5 p.m.
April 2: Free Navy band concert at Jones Park, Gulfport 2-3 p.m.
April 3: Leap Frogs parachute jump at Jones Park, Gulfport, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
April 3: Leap Frogs parachute jump at Long Beach High School, 1 p.m.
April 4: Leap Frogs parachute jump at Biloxi High School, 1 p.m.
April 4: Free Navy band concert at Biloxi Visitors Center, 6-7 p.m.
April 7: Free Navy band concert at Fishbone Alley, Gulfport, 7-9 p.m.