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By Navy Chief MCS Steve Johnson

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Navy Showcases Local Sailors,
Global Mission During Greenville Navy Week

(October 17, 2009)

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (10/13/2009 - NNS) -- The U.S. Navy arrived in Greenville the first week of October to share its mission with the citizens of South Carolina while highlighting the contributions of its Sailors.

The Greenville city mayor proclaimed the entire week "Greenville Navy Week." Radio listeners and television viewers got an inside, up-close and personal look at Navy life and operations. Area high school students learned of educational and career opportunities, and they were treated to free, high-energy concerts by the Navy rock band "Four Star Edition." Public displays of Navy assets helped locals touch, feel and experience the Navy.
Oct. 5, 2009 - Navy Counselor 1st Class Timothy Smith, assigned to Navy Recruiting District Raleigh, tutors a young participant in the computer lab of the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club after school program during Greenville Navy Week, one of 21 Navy Weeks held across America this year. Navy Weeks are designed to show Americans the investment they have made in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.
Oct. 5, 2009 - Navy Counselor 1st Class Timothy Smith, assigned to Navy Recruiting District Raleigh, tutors a young participant in the computer lab of the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club after school program during Greenville Navy Week, one of 21 Navy Weeks held across America this year. Navy Weeks are designed to show Americans the investment they have made in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.
From civic groups such as Rotary Club, the Urban League and the American Legion, to educational audiences at high schools, technical schools and college and university campuses scattered throughout the Greenville metro area, the Navy reached out to every corner of the city to tell its story to people who rarely get to see Sailors in uniform in this cosmopolitan South Carolina town.

Rear Adm. Bill Goodwin was the Navy's chief spokesman during the weeklong event. With 34 years of active duty service in the U.S. Navy, Goodwin offered an insider's look into the nation's Maritime Strategy, and a unique insight into where it is going next.

Woven into the dozens of speeches and presentations and he made over the course of the week - from personal recollections of his own Navy service and from his vantage point as a leader in the Navy hierarchy - Goodwin brought a consistent message to the masses: it's important to know what America's Navy is doing to protect the nation and its positive impact around the globe.

"We're here in Greenville, South Carolina, to showcase our Navy," Goodwin said. "There are 21 places in our country where we are holding Navy Weeks this year, and it's the opportunity to let the people of Greenville know what the United States Navy is doing throughout the world and that we are a global force for good."

Navy officials used every spare moment to get the word out.

Sailors appeared almost daily on the television show "Your Carolina With Jack and Kimberly" broadcast on WSPA-TV in Greenville. Shows included what Greenville Navy Week is, SEAL Delayed Entry Personnel and fitness requirements, an appearance by Goodwin, a Navy culinary cake-decorating demonstration in honor of the Navy's 234th Birthday, and a live appearance by the Fleet Forces Band "Four Star Edition."

Goodwin met with the Urban League of the Upstate in Greenville. The president and program directors of the organization listened to Goodwin detail the U.S. Navy's ongoing commitment to diversity within its ranks, and asked the admiral questions about educational opportunities, scholarship programs, benefits and career paths within the Navy.

Goodwin told the organization's management team that service in the Navy brings out the best in young people. "Our Navy is a wonderful organization that build young people into leaders," Goodwin said. "It might build them only for four or five years. But I will tell you that when they come out of our military, they've changed, and it's good for our nation and our community."

Urban League managers expressed gratitude for the admiral's visit and the information that he shared with them.

"I'm proud to see that our military services are looking at diversity," said Will Gregg, director of pre-college enrollment for the Urban League. "It's important for our military to look like our country because we are the biggest melting pot in the world."

Goodwin toured the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Outpatient Center in Greenville to meet the staff and thank veterans for their service. The Navy also brought stuffed toys and Navy ball caps to the Shriners Hospital For Children in Greenville during a Caps For Kids visit.

Sailors from both the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Greenville and from the Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Raleigh joined forces to volunteer for a variety of events. Sailors manned Navy exhibits, scheduled Navy Band performances at local schools, helped build a home with Habitat for Humanity, and played with and tutored young people in after-school programs throughout the city.

"By us being out here, it shows the people of Greenville that the Navy does have a presence here," said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Boardman, commanding officer of NOSC Greenville. "Navy Week allows us to give back to the community because we're there to support the community, just like they are supporting us. It's our way to say 'thank you' to them."

Wade Hampton High School arranged a visit by Goodwin to share his message about what the Navy can offer their students. "I think definitely our students are going to see what the Navy has to offer," said Principal Lance Radford. "This is a career day for us. We want to explore all careers for students, and the Navy being one of those careers. I think those students will be able to takeaway for themselves whether the Navy is a possible career for them or not."

Officials at Furman College welcomed the Navy's appearance on their campus, where Goodwin spoke to a representative gathering of students with the Riley Institute of Government, Politics, and Public Leadership.

"I really enjoyed Rear Admiral Goodwin's talk today, he really understood the audience he was talking to. These are young adults who are thinking about careers," said Dr. John Beckford, dean of the faculty at Furman College. "In particular, his emphasis on leadership is a message I think all young people need to hear: the opportunities of leadership as well as the responsibilities of leadership."

Goodwin, who served as the first commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), also addressed veterans groups during his visit to the American Legion War Museum Greenville.

Navy veterans and retired military from other branches of the armed services also took part in the festivities. Some wore their uniforms. Some brought only their memories. They shared stories of their own military service and those of relatives who served in the Navy.

Retired naval officers from the amphibious attack cargo ship USS Winston (AKA-94) had gathered with their spouses in Greenville Oct. 8-11 for their fifth annual reunion, coinciding with the "Fall for Greenville" festival and the U.S. Navy Week celebration.

Capt. Joe Valitchka and his wife Sue hosted the group's reunion. Members met Goodwin, viewed Navy exhibits and listened to the "Four Star Edition" Navy band.

"I think it gives people a whole new awareness of the Navy," said retired Capt. Joe Valitchka. "The Navy used to be more apparent in Charleston; so having the Navy here in Greenville is a very good idea."

Greenville Navy Week was one of 21 Navy Weeks slated for 2009. The goal was to bring the Navy, its Sailors and official spokespersons alike, to towns that normally do not see the Navy.

The Navy exhibits "Accelerate Your Life Experience" and the Navy themed Suburban were on display daily for residents during the event. The Fleet Forces Band "Four Star Edition" rocked out in downtown Greenville and at local high school auditoriums.

By Navy Chief MCS Steve Johnson
Office of Navy Community Outreach
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Navy News Service

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