MOBILE, Ala. (NNS) -- The birthplace of Mardi Gras in America is saying its farewell to the many Sailors it has come to know as the Navy Week celebration comes to an end, March 5.
About 500 Sailors made their way to Mobile this week to participate in nearly a hundred individual events across the city, including demonstrations of capabilities from Navy explosive ordnance disposal personnel, Navy oceanography and meteorology teams, Navy recruiting presentations, performances from Navy Band Southeast, presentations from USS Constitution Sailors as well as visits to high schools, non-profits, industries and universities, and participation in more than eight Mardi Gras parades.
“We’ve definitely left an impact on the local community,” said Lt. David Carter, the lead planner for Mobile Navy Week. “As we marched through the final parade this afternoon, the outpouring of support and gratitude was everywhere. Not only were the people we encountered grateful for our participation, but most of them had learned something new about the Navy this past week.”
The Sailors participating in the week’s event represented several specialties and ratings within the Navy, and many traveled from across the United Sates to be part of the outreach event.
"I believe this Navy Week went extremely well,” said Chief Navy Career Counselor Grant Khanbalinov, a recruiter at Navy Recruiting Command. “Everyone loves us here. Everyone is extremely supportive. Everywhere we go people are shaking our hands and thanking us for our service. It really is a great experience."
Khanbalinov and his Sailors were involved in many different school presentations during Mobile Navy Week.
“It is a great opportunity for the Navy to be able to get in front of Students, show them what the Navy does, talk to them about what we do, and give them that experience,” continued Khanbalinov. “We are not necessarily looking for them to join the Navy, but just to be educated on what the Navy is all about.”
Some of the highlights from the week included Rear Adm. Ronald R. Fritzemeier, chief engineer of Space and Naval Warfare Command, receiving a city proclamation from Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) arriving in port to participate in the celebration.
The week wrapped up by having Sailors from the USS Constitution, USS James E. Williams, Navy Band Southeast, Navy Outreach, Navy Recruiting Command, and more, participate in the many Mardi Gras parades happening throughout the city.
“We're so excited to be here and perform for the hundreds of thousands of incredible people here in Mobile,” said Musician 3rd Class Cesar Pimentel-Ortiz, a Sailor assigned to Navy Band Southeast. “Through the music we perform, we share the Navy’s tradition and culture to the people. It’s amazing to see how the people of Mobile also express their tradition and culture through this celebration.”
Navy weeks are designed to increase awareness of the Navy's mission and capabilities by showing Americans who live in cities that do not have a significant naval presence the resources and skills of the Navy.
For more information about Navy Week, visit http://www.outreach.navy.mil/, or follow the hashtag #NavyWeek.
For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element, visit www.navy.mil/local/npasehq/.