History of Navy Days – LA
In 2000 Chief of Staff Third Fleet, CAPT Craig Patton USN, while at anchor off the shores of Acapulco asked CDR Chuck McWhorter, PAO of Third Fleet, why Los Angeles, the largest port city on the West Coast, didn’t have Navy Ship port visits. The Navy had annual port visits up and down the West coast including Fleet weeks, Rose Festivals and Sea Fairs but none in Los Angeles.
CDR Chuck McWhorter contacted Tony Pearson who called Regional President, Don Clark, about the LA potential. Tony and Don invited local National Directors and potential sponsors to attend a lunch meeting at 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro in December 2000 to discuss a LA port visit.
The three people emerged as leaders to form the core of the Navy Days – LA were Grant W. Ivey, Tony Kriss and Tony Pearson. Tony Parisian later joined the group which became known as “Grant and the three Tonys.”
Navy Days – LA I, under the Navy League’s Pacific Southwest Regions’ 501(c)3 in April 2001 brought up the USS Coronado (AGF 11) and the Sea Shadow (IX 529). These were first Navy ships to visit Los Angeles harbor in 7 years since the Long Beach Navy Base closed down. The guest speaker at the Navy Days – LA dinner dance was Lt. Shane Osborn USN, the pilot of the recently downed and captured EP-3E plane in China.
Navy Days – LA II was held in April 2002. We brought USS Peleliu (LHA 5) which had recently returned from the War on Terror with the 15th MEU to the port of LA. Navy Days was the first civilian sponsored group to ride a Navy ship since 9-11. Also, we brought the South Tower’s WTC flag and the Marines who had recently raised it at Kandahar airport onboard USS Peleliu. John Finn, the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient at 93, was our guest speaker at the dinner dance. Frank Barnyak from the Hollywood-LA council made sure each Sailor and Marine got an autographed picture of John.
Navy Days – LA III was held in April of 2004. Due to the War on Terror, there were no ships available in 2003 so there was no port visit. USS Lassen (DDG 82) was our visiting ship in 2004. RADM Kevin Eldridge USCG was our guest speaker. 2004 marked the separation of Navy Days – LA from the PSWR when Navy Days became a separate entity under National Navy League receiving its own 501 (c) (3) group exemption status.
Navy Days – LA IV USS Stethem (DDG 63) was our visiting ship. Navy Days – LA is in part designed to help increase individual PSWR Councils’ membership and Council retention by providing 400 ship riding opportunities along with receptions and VIP tours.
Navy Days – LA V was held in Redondo Beach with USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) in April, 2006 to coincide with Raytheon’s Southwest National JROTC drill competition. Ship rides, JROTC tours, baseball games, receptions were the main focus of this port visit.
Navy Days – LA VI was held during the 4th of July, 2006 back in Los Angeles Harbor with USS McClusky (FFG 41). Ship rides up and back, 1500 public tours pus VIP reception with a fireworks show off Cabrillo Beach. USCG did a SAR Demo for the 20,000 on Cabrillo Beach and C-17 Fly over.
Navy Days – LA VII was held December 7th, 2006 with the 1st port call of USS Los Angeles (SSN 68) to her name sake city, Los Angeles. Much press was generated; a video on YouTube, sailors met Rose Queen and her Court, Tour of Dodger Stadium and Lakers game meeting Kobe Bryant.
Navy Days – LA VIII was held again over 4th of July with USS Rentz. 200 plus ship riders (San Diego to LA and back) 1,500 plus civilians tours, 500 plus “kids in Uniform Tours (Boy, Girl and Cub Scouts) and ND-LA worked closely with Cabrillo Beach Boosters, had a C-17 flyover and 120 for an onboard BBQ for 4th of July to watch fireworks.
Navy Days – LA IX was held over 4th of July ’08 with USS Gary. Two ship rides occurred, With Cabrillo Beach Boosters we had recruiters from most services on the beach for the 4th and (2) AAVs preformed a beach assault, the USCG preformed a SAR demo and the C-17 did a flyover. 45,000 was the attendance. On 05 JUL Military assets and recruiters stationed on the berth for Kids in Uniform tours and the Sea Cadets helped with parking.
Navy Days – LA X was held first week in Aug ’08 with USCG Eagle. Navy League members from (7) different Councils were invited for dinner aboard. First we bused them over from Berth 87 to USCG Station for a tour of USCG Cutter George Cobb, then a briefing on what Integrated Support Command does and then back to USCGC Eagle for dinner, a SAR demo and tour of the America’s Tall ship.
Navy Days – LA XI, worked with and supported the Santa Barbara Council regarding some events of the commissioning of USS Stockdale (DDG 106) in Port Hueneme, Navy Base Ventura County.
Navy Days – LA XII, held over the 4th of July weekend 2009 brought to Port of Los Angeles, USCGC Active, USCGC Blackfin and USCGC George Cobb. A public touring day, a “Kids in Uniform” touring day, Navy league dinner aboard for 4th of July, burger bash and Angels baseball game were again the focus.
Navy Days – LA XIII, worked with and supported the Long Beach Council in the commissioning and port visit of USS Green Bay (LPD 20) in Long Beach Harbor.
Navy Days – LA XIV was the decommissioning of USS Los Angeles (SSN 688) January 2010. We did a VIP ride up from San Diego, crew to watch the Kings at Staples, reunion parties for the past crew, special tours and a decommissioning event under a tent, pier side, for 1,000 invited guests.
Navy Days – LA XV – (Navy Week – LA) July 2011 there were (4) ships and 4,000 plus sailors. The ships were USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), USS Chafee (DDG 90) , USS Princeton (CG 59) and USS Champion (MCM 4). Media coverage was over the top. There were 10,000 plus people per day touring USS Abraham Lincoln. (4) Admirals doing speaking events at Rotary, LA City Council Chambers, Navy League meetings and other venues, and then Sailors doing Community Relations projects, Navy Band concerts, Leap Frogs jumps, Sailor receptions for a total of (149) events.
Navy Days – LA XVI – August 2012 with USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and CGC George Cobb. First year for the Kids STEM Expo for over 1,000 kids, 260 civilians experienced an educational destroyer ship ride, 225 Navy League members and elected officials attended (2) ship board receptions and the Navy’s message was communicated to the public in (3) seperate venues. Hospitallity for the Sailors included, (2) receptions at Yacht Clubs, dinner at Redondo Elks Club, an Angeles Baseball game, special tour of Ronald Reagan Library and a day at Santa Monica pier. Each Sailors also received a ND-LA Challenge coin and some volunteered time in the community.
Navy Days – LA XVII – In the planning stages – Summer of 2013- STANDBY!