From the Bridge February 2019
Updated: Apr 4, 2019
The month started off with two events on the second day, so our council leadership was split in order to cover both. Several dozen members toured the US Navy’s newest Littoral Combat Ship at NS Mayport, while others, led by Senior Vice President Brad Smith, attended the Annual Inspection of the FDR Squadron, Naval Sea Cadet Corps at NAS Jacksonville.
Visit to USS Wichita – LCS-13 On February 2nd, our council members visited the US Navy’s newest Littoral Combat Ship, the USS Wichita, (LCS-13) at Naval Station Mayport. The officers and crew who escorted and briefed us on the mission and operation of the ship made a very positive impression on even the “Old Salts” in our group. The level of technology tools available to the crew to not only increase combat effectiveness but reduce the number of crew required to operate was astounding. If you haven’t been on one of these new ships, I urge you to go the next time we have the opportunity. Meeting those bright, young and energetic sailors was refreshing and comforting that our Navy is still out there, competent and confident, performing its mission.
Naval Sea Cadet Corps Also on the 2nd was the Annual Inspection for the FDR Squadron of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps. We have sponsored the squadron for many years and are kept informed of their activities by our VP Youth Programs, Jodie Marchman. The squadron has been given new spaces on NAS Jax for their offices, training and supply rooms and squadron leadership have been busy volunteering to build walls to configure the spaces for use. The new conference room was named in honor of Jodie Marchman to recognize his work and generosity. Senior VP Brad Smith welcomed the newest class of recruits to the squadron, now numbering almost 20 in the past few months. We are proud of the squadron and their accomplishments to educate young people about the sea services which supports one the primary missions of the Navy League, “Foster the education and development of our youth through programs such as the Naval Sea Cadet Corps...”.
First Board Meeting Our new board first met on February 12 and set in motion an aggressive schedule of planned activities to involve our current members and attract new members to join us.
We chose a new venue, the Holiday Inn in Orange Park, Florida, owned by Phil Murphey, a retired US Navy officer and a long-time Community Affiliate. Phil provided a free conference room, coffee, juice, water and a buffet breakfast that usually costs $9.95. We had 20 board members attend and conducted business in record time, just a tiny bit over one hour. The room is equipped with a full array of installed audio-visual equipment. All we need to do is bring a laptop and we can show our agenda and reports on the large screen instead of printing copies for all. We are going green(er).
We also found time to approve our budget and appoint a Bylaws Review Committee, chaired by our JAG Nick Pulignano, to review and recommend amendments to our 15-year-old Bylaws.
Mixer On the 21st we had an informal gathering of members and guests at the Blue Fish Restaurant and were honored to have as our speaker a Brazilian Naval officer, Commander Luciano Calixto, accompanied by his wife, Lucia. Luciano has become a friend of our council and is instrumental in forming a partnership with the Brazilian equivalent of our Navy League. Also attending was Peruvian Naval officer Commander Freddy Ramirez and his wife Paloma. They are assigned as Liaison Officers on the staff of the US Naval Forces Southern Command/US Fourth Fleet at nearby Mayport.
Luciano entertained our members with his stories of life as a liaison officer, and his service as a Brazilian Naval officer. He is a graduate of the Brazilian Naval Academy, has commanded several ships, and was aide to the Chief of Staff of his Navy. We were proud to host these officers who are not only serving their nation, but ours as well.
Salute to Veterans It will happen on November 7th and that is just around the corner. Our main event for 2019 will be our Salute to Veterans where we will honor a distinguished veteran in our community, as well as all active duty sea services personnel. We continue to honor all those who have served our great nation, but our focus is on those who served in the US Navy, US Marine Corps, US Coast Guard and the US Merchant Marine.
Programs Former council President JB Renninger is serving as VP Programs and is aggressively filling our program calendar with interesting and fun events. We are planning several “hands-on” tours, luncheons, dinners, mixers, and other fun events, so watch your email for invitations. March will be very busy with three events already scheduled.
Your membership, participation and support of our council is highly valued, and we urge you to continue your membership and invite your friends, relatives and colleagues to join.
Let’s have fun this year, while we grow our council!
Bill Cousins President