Dozens of Navy sailors are in Shreveport/Bossier putting on a variety of events at schools, delivering musical performances and parachute demonstrations, and lending a hand in community service activities to raise the Navy’s profile and put a face to this branch of the military. This Navy Week is one of 12 underway in select cities nationwide.
Torpedoman’s Mate Second Class Bradley Davis is aboard the USS Louisiana based at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington. He says it’s a bit intimidating to be in an Air Force community in the shadow of Barksdale Air Force Base.
“It’s definitely different because we’re used to being in a Navy community, whether that's Norfolk, Virginia; Bangor, Washington; or in Florida. You see those sailors all the time. This is an area you get looks. But, it’s great being from the USS Louisiana and representing the namesake,” Davis said, who has been in the Navy four years.
Lt. Cmdr. Maura Thompson is one of just a handful of women serving on submarines. The 31-year-old is out on watch on the USS Louisiana, a ballistic missile submarine, for three months at a time. She says most days are long. The crew of 150 will work between 18 and 20 hours a day.
“The Navy is not in a drawdown like you may hear from some other branches of service. For us, the submarine corps is always looking for the best. It is a challenging job. We have a fairly high attrition rate. We’re always looking for the smartest, brightest, and toughest people to come join us on the USS Louisiana,” Thompson said, a U.S. Naval Academy alumna who considers herself the “mother hen” on the USS Louisiana.
Tuesday’s Navy Night event at Airline High School will pay tribute to 91-year-old Mary Burns Melson, a local World War II Navy veteran. Thompson says 20 new recruits will be sworn in and the event will feature a jump by the Navy’s Leapfrog Parachute Team. The event is from 7 to 9 p.m., on April 28, 2801 Airline Drive, Bossier City.
A detailed schedule of events is published here.