Navy week sets sail in the Sun City

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Parachuting demonstrations by Navy officers at Rochester, NY. (Courtesy of the Navy Operational Support Center)

EL PASO – Since scorching temperatures, blowing dust, and dry air are the main features of El Paso’s desert atmosphere, sailors sailing on a vast blue ocean probably don’t come to mind here. But that’s exactly what the Amigo Airsho will bring when it highlights Navy Week, October 22 and 23.

El Paso doesn’t have the Navy stationed locally, but that’s not an obstacle to the community’s  strong Navy connection. Locally there are hundreds of ties to the Navy that El Pasoans wouldn’t normally think of. The local Navy League has 150 retired Navy personnel. The Navy Operational Support Center employs 10 active duty and more than 300 reserve sailors, and a considerable number of Navy retirees call El Paso home.

“I’m excited that El Paso finally gets to experience a little bit of the Navy,” said Ana Gutierrez a local resident, “We’re not really used to interaction with the Navy, so it’ll be nice to see sailors around town.”

A Navy officer answers questions at El Paso International Airport. (Alexa Marquez/Borderzine.com)

A Navy officer answers questions at El Paso Convention Center. (Alexa Marquez/Borderzine.com)

Although the Amigo Airsho is an exciting part of an El Paso tradition, Navy Week is geared to bring attention to this attraction and as it aspires to become part of the community calendar. Along with the Navy, El Paso community leaders have joined to plan a week’s worth of educational events that incorporate science, technology, engineering and math in order to show students the importance of an education.

Navy personnel plan to visit schools in the El Paso area to interact with students of all ages and inspiring them with the message that education is the key to success.

“I think it’s cool that the Navy is going to be coming to schools in El Paso,” Miguel Balderrama an El Paso middle school student said. “We never have cool guests at school, so it’ll be fun.”

Miguel isn’t alone in his excitement for the Navy to come to El Paso and interact with the community.

“I’ll enjoy seeing a different side of the military. The Navy coming to El Paso seems rare and the work they’re doing with the community for a whole week shows they care,” a student at the University of Texas at El Paso said.

Not only will the Navy focus on core school subject matters but they also want to bring the movement and rhythm of sound. The Navy Band will be included in various appearances around town to promote the importance of learning how to play instruments.

Some of the other proposed Navy community activities to be included for the city of El Paso are Caps for Kids in which the Navy will visit a local hospital’s pediatric unit and engage in fun activities with the children. Navy Week offers an opportunity to give back to the community and gives residents a chance to meet Navy sailors and learn about a military group not normally associated with El Paso.

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