Navy Week Steams Into Roanoke

Story Number: NNS080709-03Release Date: 7/9/2008 4:12:00 PM
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By Ensign Michael Sheehan, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

ROANOKE, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy held the first Roanoke/Salem-area Navy Week, July 3-9.

The Roanoke/Salem Navy Week allowed the Navy several opportunities to interact with thousands of local residents.

The festivities began July 3 as Sailors from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and Pre-Commissioning Unit George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) joined local Reserve Sailors and the Roanoke Division Sea Cadets in raising the colors to start of the 21st annual Salem Fair.

Visitors interacted with Sailors, participated in the SEAL Accelerator experience, played Navy-themed video games at the Navy Suburban truck kiosk and watched as Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) divers demonstrated their craft in an interactive dive tank display.

Sailors -- 35 in all -- volunteered July 4 to prepare and serve a barbequed meal at the Rescue Mission kitchen in Roanoke.

"We were all impressed with how appreciative the folks were," said Electrician's Mate 1st Class John Campbell, leading petty officer of "E" division on Bush. "Not only were they thankful for our being there to help on the fourth, but they were thankful of our service in uniform as well."

Sailors played softball to benefit and promote awareness for the Southwestern Virginia Second Harvest Food Bank. Sailors, Navy Week visitors, local recruits from the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) and local area recruiters were challenged by a team of food bank staff, local media members, U.S. Rep. Bob Goldlatte, and Salem Mayor Randy Foley. Sailors outscored the locals 14-13.

Commander, Navy Education and Training Command Rear Adm. Gary Jones arrived in Roanoke July 6. Jones, who was born in and spent his first three years in the Roanoke/Salem area, hosted a meeting with the Roanoke Sea Cadets, local members of the Experimental Aircraft Association and regional officer in charge of the Civil Air Patrol. During the meeting, Jones thanked the various organizations for their respective contributions to their communities, particularly their involvement with youth programs.

"Although you don't see ships out and about in Roanoke," Jones told the group. "You do have a Navy out there, and it is your Navy."

Roanoke/Salem Navy Week is one of more than 20 Navy Weeks held throughout the country in an effort to bring awareness of the Navy and its mission to metropolitan areas with limited exposure to the fleet.

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Aviation Structural Mechanic Equipment 2nd Class Peter Vonszilassy, right, special warfare coordinator with the SEAL Accelerator, competes with a civilian patron.
080703-N-3271W-072 SALEM, Va. (July 03, 2008) Aviation Structural Mechanic Equipment 2nd Class Peter Vonszilassy, right, special warfare coordinator with the SEAL Accelerator, competes with a civilian patron at the Salem Fair. The Seal Accelerator was on hand for Roanoke Navy Week, one of 21 Navy Weeks planned across America in 2008. U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward (Released)
July 8, 2008
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