Believe it or not, this is Navy Week in landlocked Kansas City. But don’t expect any large U.S. military vessels to anchor in the Missouri River at Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park.
What people can expect to see is the Navy Band Southeast's Popular Music Group, “Pride,” and New Orleans Style Brass Band perform at 6 p.m. Thursday at Crown Center. Navy divers on Thursday and Friday will be at the Sea Life Aquarium, where visitors will be treated to diving demonstrations. They’ll also get to talk with sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, who will be involved in several community outreach projects this week.
“We want people in Kansas City to know about what’s going on this week,” Vice Admiral William Hilarides, commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command told The Star editorial board on Monday. He called the week essential to the Navy’s operation because the military can’t serve the country “without the support of the American people.”
That service includes heavy demands on the Navy because of ongoing turmoil in the Persian Gulf, Libya, Egypt, North Korea, Russia and China. “The Navy is as busy as it has ever been,” Hilarides said.
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He said China is continuing to building a navy, which includes submarines. The U.S. doesn’t oppose that, however, the U.S. Navy has maintain its readiness in the Pacific Ocean and elsewhere to keep international waters open for trade and to safeguard the interests of U.S. allies against aggression.
This week sailors will speak at Kansas City area schools, to businesses, to Rotary groups and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which is headquartered in midtown. On Thursday and Friday, people who live or work downtown will get a preview of the Blue Angels airshow performance.
It will be practice for the Saturday and Sunday Kansas City Aviation Expo Air Show at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport. Hilarides explained that the scheduled performances of the U.S. Navy Parachute Team, the Leap Frogs, had to be canceled after an accident in Chicago.
The Army Golden Knights and Navy Leap Frogs parachute teams were performing a stunt Saturday at the Chicago Air & Water Show when two parachutists collided in midair. One person was killed. The other was injured.
The Navy Parachute Team performances were to have included pre-game jumps at Friday's Kansas City Chiefs vs. Seattle Seahawks football game and aerial performances at Saturday's Parkville Days celebration at English Landing Park in addition to the Kansas City Aviation Expo Air Show.
Kansas City Navy Week is the eighth of only 12 such events in the U.S. this year.