Shreveport-Bossier Prepares for Navy Week April 27-May 3
Navy Week is coming to Shreveport-Bossier April 27-May 3, and will coincide with the Barksdale Defenders of Liberty Air Show.
Navy Office of Community Outreach spokesman Gary Ross tells KEEL News there is a Navy presence here in our area, but it's not very big.
"That's one of the reason why we do Navy Weeks. We tend to go into cities within the heartland of America where there isn't a large Navy presence," Ross said. "Here in Bossier City and the Shreveport area, we have a NOSC, which is a Navy Operational Support Center. So there's approximately 200 reservists assigned to that Reserve Center, with some active duty guys that are called full-time support officers and enlisted. So we have the NOSC, and we have a couple of small recruiting stations that probably man up at about 10 recruiters. So you're looking at a very small footprint for the Navy here in the Bossier-Shreveport area."
Ross said there are more females in the Navy than a lot of people think. About 1/3 of the Naval force is made up of women. One of the featured guests during Navy Week will be a female submarine officer.
"She's one of the first females aboard a nuclear-powered submarine," he said. "She will be coming off the USS Louisiana. It's a ballistic missile submarine. She'll be bringing three sailors with her."
Those sailors will be visiting at least six middle schools to make their historical presentation, and will answer any question students may have. They'll also be bringing artifacts from the ship with them.
Another group of featured sailors is the Explosive Ordinance Disposal team. These sailors will also visit local schools to demonstrate what they do on the job, and they'll be showing off their bomb-diffusing robots.
Navy Week also highlights sailors from the USS Louisiana, who will be doing several community relations projects in town. They'll visit places like food banks and Boys and Girls Clubs.
"The purpose of a Navy Week is to get face-to-face with the people of the cities we go to to talk to them about the Navy," Ross said. "You guys are the taxpayers. They want to tell the world of what they do in the Navy and how proud they are."
Navy parachute team Leap Frogs will be in town, as well, and they'll be participating in jumps at about five high schools and Bossier Parish Community College. But the big event happens Tuesday, April 28, at Airline High School.
"We're dubbing it 'Navy Night.' All of our assets will be there," Ross said. "We will have the Leap Frogs jump in to start the program off. We will have a joint mayoral proclamation from both mayors, from Bossier City and Shreveport. We'll have an Admiral here to accept that proclamation."
Young men and women in our area who are interested in joining the Navy will also do their swearing-in that night. Then, there will be a big Navy Band concert. That celebration gets underway at 6 that evening, and it's absolutely free to participate.
We'll have more Navy Week features as we get closer to the event. You can listen to my complete interview with Gary Ross here: