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What do you get when thousands of sailors come to town? Miami will soon find out.

The amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) returns to homeport at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., on Sept. 19, 2017.

TIMOTHY SCHUMAKER/U.S. NAVY PHOTO

By HOWARD COHEN | Miami Herald | Published: January 19, 2019

MIAMI — Miami is getting its first official Navy Week in March.

Navy Week, not to be confused with Fleet Week at Port Everglades, a popular annual showcase event held by the military in Broward County in April, is also an outreach event for the branch of the military service. According to the Navy’s Office of Community Outreach, Navy Weeks are held in areas of the country that don’t have a significant Navy presence.

Activities include visits by Navy leadership and sailors who go out into the community to detail how the Navy operates through interactions with civic officials and the general public. For Miami’s stop, the Navy plans a port visit from the USS New York, a performance by the U.S. Navy Band and Navy meteorological and oceanographic displays.

“Our only Navy outreach visit to Miami was in 2013 when Vice Adm. Harry Harris conducted executive engagements there,” said Lt. John Stevens, Navy Week program manager.

“We have traditionally not scheduled a Navy Week in Miami due to the geographic proximity of Fleet Week Port Everglades. However, as these two events occur in separate media markets, we believed Miami was an ideal new market for our program this year, and we are excited to foster what we hope will be a long relationship between Miami and the Navy Week program,” Stevens said.

Fleet Week and Navy Week share some of the same units, such as the Navy Band. But they are organized differently, Stevens explained. Navy Weeks are organized by the Navy Office of Community Outreach, a field office of the Navy’s Chief of Information. “Fleet Weeks are typically organized by the host city or a private entity within the host city, such as a fair or festival,” he said.

According to the Navy, there are 228 Navy Weeks in 75 U.S. markets. The 2019 season opens with a Navy Week in Mobile, Alabama, followed by Charleston, South Carolina. Other stops after Miami, the third stop, include Puerto Rico in April, Nashville in June, Minnesota in July and Wichita in September.

“Navy Weeks are designed to help Americans, and in this case Miami area residents, understand why having a strong Navy is critical to the American way of life,” Cmdr. Linda Rojas, director of the Navy Office of Community Outreach, said in a statement.

“Because the Navy is concentrated primarily in select locations on both coasts, we’re challenged to communicate our mission away from fleet concentration areas. That’s where the Navy Week program comes in. We’re very excited to bring a Navy Week to Miami, which is a past fleet concentration area, and still maintains strong Navy ties throughout the community.”

Stevens expects about 75 outreach events in the Miami week aimed at corporate, civic, government, education, media, veterans, community service and diversity organizations in the city.

“The 2019 schedule is exciting for us. We’re outside the continental U.S. for the first time in our program’s history as we travel to Puerto Rico, and we have the potential for some ships joining us in our coastal markets, including a port visit from the USS New York in Miami.”


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