We not only began a new year, but installed a new slate of officers for the Jacksonville Council, Navy League of the US. Some continue to serve in the same position, others are still serving but in a different position, and several new officers were sworn in at our Annual Meeting and Installation of Officers on January 24, 2019.
The Annual Meeting was attended by 80 members and guests and we were honored by the attendance of our guest speaker, Rear Admiral Sean Buck, Commander US Naval Forces Southern Command and Commander US Fourth Fleet. Our other honored guests included Rear Admiral Peter Garvin, Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, and retired US Air Force LtCol Barry Bridger whose F-4 Phantom was shot down over Hanoi in January 1967 resulting in his capture and confinement as a Prisoner of War for over six years.
Presentation of Colors for the Annual Meeting was performed by the Color Guard of the Franklin D Roosevelt Squadron of the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps from Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Those young boys and girls performed flawlessly and exhibited their dedication to the task and the training and leadership provided by their volunteer squadron officers.
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. 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.
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 are planning several “hands-on” tours, luncheons, dinners, mixers, and other fun events, so watch your email for invitations. We also found time to approve our budget and appoint a Bylaws Review Committee to review and recommend amendments to our 15-year-old Bylaws.
Our main event for 2019 will be our Salute to Sea Services dinner in November, renamed from Salute to Veterans to more closely align with our mission to support the Sea Services. 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.
Your membership, participation and support of the Jacksonville 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 Council President