Thursday, March 24, 2011
Navy Week celebrates contributions of our nation’s sailors and marines
This week, Mississippi serves as host of Navy Week, a celebration of our proud history with the U.S. Navy. Air shows featuring the Navy’s Blue Angels at Keesler Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Meridian are two of the many activities for service members and the general public alike to enjoy. Naval Air Station Meridian celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Events throughout the state will highlight the involvement of Sailors and Marines in their communities.
The Navy’s presence in Mississippi creates thousands of good jobs. From shipbuilding to the production of advanced unmanned aerial vehicles, our economy benefits from helping the Navy meet its supply needs.
Navy Week is a time to recognize these important contributions of Mississippians as well.
Responding around the World
The recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan served as a reminder of the humanitarian efforts the Navy can carry out in times of desperate need.
The Seabees, in addition to other resources positioned in the Pacific region, responded quickly offering aid. Counting the Seabees, 10,000 U.S. personnel are deployed in or around Japan to assist in disaster relief. The Navy is making efforts to protect our service members from radiation and other dangers, and they still face a dangerous situation as aftershocks and other threats persist.
From our humanitarian missions in Japan and Haiti to combat operations in Afghanistan, Mississippi’s four Seabee battalions have proven invaluable to America’s national security and image abroad. Celebrating their 60th anniversary next year, the Seabees’ construction expertise is an important tool. Their know-how, commitment, and compassion help accomplish the Navy’s broader mission around the world.
The Navy’s Future
Mississippi’s naval heritage also includes building the necessary ships and other vehicles used by sailors and Marines. Mississippi’s current delegation is working to carry on the efforts of many previous senators and representatives in developing our shipbuilding industry. As the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Sea Power Subcommittee, I remain committed to ensuring that America’s Navy has the necessary resources to complete any mission it may be called upon to accomplish. Ever-changing threats require a modern fleet, and Mississippi is well positioned to continue constructing and maintaining these vessels.
Remembering the Sacrifice
Navy Week is also an important time to remember the difficult tasks these brave men and women are asked to accomplish both at home and abroad. Fifteen Marines and two sailors from Mississippi have died in Iraq or Afghanistan. We must honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country not only this week but throughout the year.
Because of the hard work of our Navy and other service branches, America is able to continue as a world superpower. Mississippi’s naval tradition remains a source of pride, and Navy Week is a good opportunity to show our thanks to the men and women who serve.
Whether anchored in the Gulf or halfway around the world, I appreciate their dedication and wish them godspeed for a safe return home.
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