By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jamal McNeill, Navy Office of Community Outreach
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- America's smallest state will host the world's largest Navy during the inaugural Rhode Island Navy Week, May 25-31.
The events and special programs to be held throughout the Ocean State are the culmination of planning and preparation over many months by the Navy Office of Community Outreach, multiple Navy assets and state leaders.
"We have been planning Rhode Island Navy Week since the end of 2014," said Lt. Javan Rasnake, lead planner for Rhode Island Navy Week. "There have been more than ten commands and 100 Sailors involved in the planning of this Navy Week."
The Navy Week program focuses a variety of assets, equipment and personnel on a single area for a week-long series of engagements designed to bring America's Navy closer to the people it protects. While Navy Weeks frequently are centered in areas without a large Navy presence, the Navy is keen to support a Navy Week in Rhode Island, which has a strong tie with the Navy that goes back centuries.
Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III, president of the Naval War College in Newport, will receive a proclamation declaring Navy Week from the Governor of Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo at the Rhode Island State House, Tuesday 3 p.m. This free event will also have a patriotic musical performance by U.S. Navy Band Northeast and the U.S. Navy parachute demonstration team, the Leap Frogs, will jump onto the State House lawn.
"The Navy Week proclamation is one of the two big events scheduled for Tuesday," said Rasnake. "Tuesday evening the Leap Frogs will also jump into the Pawtucket Red Sox's field, McCoy Stadium, as part of the team's Navy Night. To see the Leap Frogs, people need to get to the game at least twenty minutes prior to the 7:05 p.m. start."
As part of Navy Night at McCoy Stadium, Girrier will throw out the first pitch, Navy Band Northeast will provide a pre-game concert, and numerous displays will be presented by the Navy.
"The state of Rhode Island has a rich history with the Navy and baseball, so we are honored and thrilled to be able to join the Navy in celebrating Navy Week in Rhode Island," said Jeff Bradley, director of community relations for the Pawtucket Red Sox. "We expect a great deal of support from our fan base for this event and we are excited to experience all the different things that the Navy does and provides."
Along with the Leap Frogs and Navy Band performances, Sailors from USS Constitution, USS Rhode Island, and the local Navy Reserve will participate in community service projects at historic Fort Adams, Providence Habitat for Humanity, and Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge.
"The Sailors of USS Rhode Island and I look forward to meeting the proud citizens of Rhode Island, the supporters of this amazing ship, who have done so much for USS Rhode Island and its crew since its commissioning almost 21 years ago," said Cmdr. Matthew G. Gille, commanding officer of USS Rhode Island. "We are thrilled with the opportunity to visit our namesake state and participate in a wide variety of events throughout the state in support of Rhode Island Navy Week."
Rhode Island Navy Week is the third of 12 Navy Weeks in 2015 and is expected to be a successful week of events throughout the Ocean State that will provide the residents a better connection with the world's greatest Navy.
"The goal of the Navy Week program is to share the Navy's story with people across the country," said Rasnake. "It is my mission to ensure that after Navy Week, everyone in Rhode Island knows that the Navy protects and defends America on the world's oceans around the world, around the clock."
To ensure the Navy remains ready to defend America at all times, it is investing in cutting edge innovations in weapons systems, multi-mission ships and submarines, and the next generation of strike, patrol and electronic warfare aircraft. This is because the Navy has a forward presence: there where it matters, when it matters, and with the right tools to get the job done.