By Cameron Mattern
INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Navy has come ashore to the Circle City this week, launching a week-long series of events aimed to educate Hoosiers about its mission.
“Navy Week is an opportunity for us to bring sailors and our assets to the heartland of America,” said Capt. Tom Adkins, commanding officer of the Navy Office of Community Outreach. “Our coastal cities know what the Navy is all about and they get a chance to see us, but landlocked cities and states don’t really have the opportunity to learn about the Navy.”
Capt. Tom Adkins speaks at the Indianapolis Navy Week ceremony. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com
Indianapolis was one of 15 cities chosen to host Navy Week this year. Since 2005, Navy Week has served as the Navy’s outreach program for areas of the country that may not have a significant naval presence. There have been 195 Navy Weeks in 71 different U.S. markets.
Adkins, a native of Martinsville, said that sailors will talk to civic groups, government groups and schools throughout the week and explain the value of the Navy and why the Navy exists.
Mayor Joe Hogsett spoke at the opening ceremony held at the Indiana War Memorial Monday saying that the Navy makes it possible for businesses in the Indianapolis area to export nearly $1.9 billion worth of goods overseas.
“It is our honor, this week, as the city of Indianapolis and all of it’s residents, to welcome the United States Navy to our homes, to our community, to our neighborhoods, to participate in Navy Week programs and to learn more about the United States Navy, it’s mission and its people,” Hogsett said.
Sailors from the yet-to-be commissioned USS Indiana, the U.S. Fleet Forces Ceremonial Band and the USS Constitution Color Guard were also among those in attendance.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett stands alongside Capt. Tom Adkins for the playing of the national anthem. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com
Lt. j.g. Jonathon Simmons, is a supply officer onboard the future USS Indiana, which is still being built. It is a Virginia-class submarine, which are nuclear-powered, fast attack submarines. Sessions called it the “next most powerful warship on the planet.”
“We are absolutely thrilled that it is going to be called the USS Indiana because we are tied to such a patriotic state. Where we are standing today is a testimony to that, surrounded by war memorials,” said Sessions.
For Adkins, joining the Navy has made a positive impact on his life.
“I’m serving with the greatest people in the world. I do this voluntarily because I work with the best and brightest of our nation’s youth,” said Adkins. “They are the smartest generation I have ever been around. They bring incredible capabilities to the table every day, they keep me young, and they keep our nation strong and with that, there’s nowhere else to be.”
The Navy will be hosting a variety of events at the Indiana State Fair this week, including an interactive Virtual Reality experience Wednesday through Friday and a Navy Diver demonstration Wednesday and Friday. They will also be hosting various events throughout the city.
Cameron Mattern is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.