Oklahoma’s “Big Friendly” readies for underway of Oklahoma City Navy Week, May 27 through June 2, in conjunction with the Star Spangled Salute Air Show.
Historically, Navy Week events draw thousands of attendees to participate and create a dialogue between Sailors and local residents. The events are designed to raise awareness about the Navy in areas that do not have a large naval presence.
“Oklahoma City has historically been a great area for the Navy Week program,” said Lt. John Stevens, lead planner for the Oklahoma City Navy Week. “This marks the sixth Oklahoma City Navy Week, and it’s unique this year because it’s the first time we’ll be here for the Star Spangled Salute. In the past we’ve participated in the Oklahoma State Fair and Navy Days in the fall.”
During Oklahoma City Navy Week, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Greg Slavonic and Rear Adm. Jeff Trussler, director of future plans at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, will serve as senior representatives. They will meet with corporate, civic, education and government leaders throughout the week in an effort to increase awareness of the Navy, its mission and the importance of the Navy to the people of Oklahoma City.
Citizens of Oklahoma City will have a chance to interact with Sailors during the week at various public events and even hear from some of their own native Oklahomans. Both Slavonic and Trussler have ties to the area and Navy Week provides the unique opportunity to bring them back, further strengthening the connection between the Navy and Oklahoma City.
“It's always an honor to go back to your home state, especially when it's Oklahoma City,” said Slavonic, the principal Navy Week host. “It’s a city that has such a Navy heritage to it -- a cruiser named in its honor, a submarine named in its honor -- and a state that's got a battleship named after it.”
“Oklahoma has a long history of supporting the Navy,” added Slavonic. “We've had many famous individuals from Oklahoma, like Adm. Jocko Clark, and several civic leaders who have distinguished themselves in the military.”
Adm. Joseph J. “Jocko” Clark (1893-1971) was a Pryor Creek, Okla., native and Citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He commanded USS Yorktown (CV 10) and later Carrier Task Group 58.1 during World War II in the Pacific, and commanded U.S. Seventh Fleet during the Korean War. He received the Navy Cross for his actions in command of TG 58.1, and became an honorary chief in both the Sioux and Cherokee Nations.
Some of the major highlights during the week include the Navy’s Blue Angels at the Star Spangled Salute Air Show at Tinker Air Force Base, a virtual reality experience provided by Navy Recruiting District Dallas, and Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial.
Several concerts are also scheduled to be performed around the city by Navy Band Southwest’s “32nd Street Brass Band,” full wind ensemble, as well as the woodwind and brass quintets.
“Navy Band Southwest is excited to return to Oklahoma City,” said Lt. Joel Davidson, Navy Band Southwest. “During this year’s Navy Week, we have performances by four different ensembles scheduled throughout the city. Navy weeks offer the opportunity for us to bring the Navy to places that don’t normally get to see sailors and all of the incredible work they do around the world, around the clock. I can’t think of a better time for us to bring America’s Navy to Oklahoma City than Memorial Day weekend. I am looking forward to a great week and hope all of Oklahoma City comes out to see Navy Band Southwest.”
During Navy Week, Sailors from the fast-attack submarine, USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723), USS Constitution, Navy Recruiting District Dallas, and Strategic Communications Wing ONE will be participating in community relations projects with multiple YMCAs, Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity and reading to children during “Story Times” at multiple local libraries.
Oklahoma City Navy Week is one of only 14 Navy Weeks in 2019 that focus a variety of equipment and personnel in a single city for a weeklong series of engagements designed to bring America’s Navy closer to the people it protects.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.outreach.navy.mil.