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Gulfport will roll out the red carpet for Navy Week

Lt. Ryan Hukill of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 salutes during the unit’s decommissioning ceremony at the Seabee Base in Gulfport on July 25, 2014.
Lt. Ryan Hukill of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 salutes during the unit’s decommissioning ceremony at the Seabee Base in Gulfport on July 25, 2014. Sun Herald File

As the Coast makes preparations for the Mississippi bicentennial celebration, one branch of the U.S. armed forces has decided to be a part of the festivities.

The Navy announced Thursday in a press release that Gulfport has been selected as one of 15 locations to host Navy Week.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Navy Week is scheduled for March 31 to April 8. The city was selected, in part, because of the state’s bicentennial celebration in 2017, as well as the Seabees celebrating their 75th birthday.

The Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport is home to the Atlantic Fleet Seabees.

“We were looking for an event that would draw attention and thought the bicentennial and the Seabee anniversary fit in well for Navy Week,” said Lt. j.g. Mack Jamieson, a point person for Navy Week on the Coast.

Jamieson said flag officers will be in South Mississippi meeting with civic leaders as part of the Navy’s outreach for the week.

In addition, the Navy plans to be in schools along the Coast, working with STEM programs as part of sharing the mission of the Navy with the public.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Navy Week is designed to give residents an opportunity to learn about the Navy, its personnel and its role in national security, according to a press release from the Navy.

“We are honored to play host for Navy Week,” Gulfport spokesman Chris Vignes. “We have a longstanding relationship with the Navy and this is a One Coast event — from civilians to those who serve, we are one community.”

The Navy plans to include the following elements in the celebration:

  • The Navy Parachute Team, the Leap Frogs
  • Navy Divers and Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams
  • Navy Band performances
  • Senior Navy leadership
  • Sailors serving aboard ships tied to Mississippi
  • Navy simulators and other interactive displays
  • Visits to schools
  • Community service projects and events with local organizations
  • Visits with veterans

Since 2005, the Navy Week program has served as the Navy’s signature outreach effort into areas of the country that do not have a significant Navy presence, with 195 Navy Weeks being held in 71 U.S. cities.

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