Wichita, Kansas - If you want to know more about the Navy the nation needs, Wichita Navy Week is the place to be from September 9-15, coinciding with the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson.
Wichita Navy Week will bring Sailors from different Navy units across the United States to conduct focused outreach with members of the Great Plains community.
Navy Weeks are a series of outreach events coordinated by the Navy Office of Community Outreach designed to give Americans an opportunity to learn about the Navy, its people and its importance to national security and prosperity. Since 2005, the Navy Week program has served as the Navy’s flagship outreach effort into areas of the country without a significant Navy presence, providing the public a firsthand look at the Navy the nation needs.
Navy Weeks play a vital role in connecting the American public with a large array of Sailors, assets and equipment. The weeklong event strives to engage with local communities who do not have frequent visibility of the Navy.
“We’re excited to bring Navy Week to Wichita for the first time in our program’s history,” said Lt. John Stevens, Navy Week program manager. “The timing is perfect since the city’s namesake vessel, USS Wichita, was just commissioned back in January – the community is thinking ‘Navy’ right now.”
The Navy Week’s senior executive host is Rear Adm. Nancy S. Lacore, vice commander of U.S. Sixth Fleet. Lacore will participate in various ceremonies and meet with local business, civic, education and government leaders during the week.
“I am honored to be representing the United States Navy here in Wichita, particularly on the anniversary of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001,” Lacore said. “It’s important that the heartland of America understands what the Navy is doing to deter aggression in hopes of preventing future acts of terrorism. I am here to reassure the people of Wichita that the Navy is a global force for security and stability near and far."
Some of the major highlights during the week include patriotic and veterans’ events on Sept. 11, Ceremonial Guard Drill Team performances at the Kansas State Fair, static displays at the Kansas Aviation Museum and several concerts performed in the area by Navy Band Great Lakes’ full wind, woodwind and brass quintets.
Historically, Navy Week events engage with thousands of attendees to participate and create a dialogue between sailors and local residents.
“We are proud to continue to grow our relationship with the U.S. Navy,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell. “We were honored to help launch the USS Wichita earlier this year, and we look forward to welcoming the Navy back to our community this fall and deepen our community’s support with the Navy.”
During Navy Week, Sailors from USS Wichita (LCS 13), U.S. Naval Academy, Navy Recruiting District St. Louis, and several other units will participate in various community outreach events including visits to local schools, YMCAs, and Boys and Girls Clubs.
For the ship that bears the city’s name, it is particularly special.
“The crew is honored to participate in Wichita Navy Week and to represent USS Wichita,” said Cmdr. Chavius Lewis, the ship’s commanding officer. “We want to showcase the Navy and our ship during the visit and display how honored we are to be Wichita Sailors."
“We look to meeting and connecting with members of the community and engaging with those members on the commissioning committee who helped make our commissioning a success,” Lewis said.
In addition, Explosive Ordnance Group (EOD) Group 1 Sailors will conduct STEM events at the Kansas State Fair and local schools while sailors from the USS Constitution, dressed in uniforms from the 1800s, will provide interactions about the ship’s history.
Wichita Navy Week is the 13th of 14 Navy Weeks in 2019 focusing on a variety of assets, equipment and personnel on a single city for a weeklong series of engagements designed to bring America's Navy closer to the people it protects. It provides a visible example of the Navy the nation needs.