Navy honoring its history and heritage in New Orleans

It’s Navy Week in New Orleans.  Who knew?  I didn’t, until a representative from the U.S. Navy sent me an email.  Here’s an excerpt:

I’m writing on behalf of the U.S. Navy about Navy Weeks. As you may know, Navy Weeks are events hosted by Sailors in cities across the country as a way to spread the word about what the Navy does and to thank communities for their support.  After reading some of your blog posts that mention growing up in a Navy family, I thought you might be interested in learning more about the upcoming New Orleans Navy Week, which will take place from November 2-7, 2009.

The New Orleans Navy Week events, including Navy Band performances and Blue Angels F/A-18 Flight Simulator, will give the public a personal look at the men and women of the Navy serving throughout the world in different roles.  The involvement of Sailors will also be a major part of the week, including quite a few from the crew of the USS New Orleans. More about New Orleans Navy Week can be found here.

As part of the week’s events, a Joint Color Guard and 25 Sailors will unfurl the American Flat in the New Orleans Saints Military Appreciation game on tonight’s football game (Saints vs. Falcons).

See, I told you cheering for the Saints was patriotic!  Go Navy! Beat Atlanta!  Or something like that.

Here is my take on Navy Week and why I think it’s worth talking about.  I’ve not hid that I am from a military family, tend to run extremely left, and have pursued intellectual professions.  Sometimes, folks confuse these things, thinking that one can’t be liberal and supportive of the military.  Intellectuals (to my great frustration) tend to either ignore the military as some sort of unwashed mass or look down upon them as uneducated brutes.  But here is the reality: serving in the United States armed forces is one of the most honorable things a person can do.  Those who give the themselves and their families to duties that ask more than many of us (me included) can even imagine often do so for reasons based within the class, race, and socio-economic distinctions that divide and subdivide our country.  It’s important to talk about the sacrifices of service men and women — and the sacrifices of their families — so that we can be clear that taking care of those who give that much is a national priority.  It hasn’t always been, even by the most conservative of governments.

To give others a hint of what it is like to be a part of the service, each day this week I am going to post short interviews with various Navy Servicemen and Servicewomen.   The interviews come from the Navy (full disclosure) and feature individuals who are part of this week’s celebrations in New Orleans.  It’s hard to describe what being a part of a Military family is like without experiencing it first hand, but maybe reading a few profiles will help.  To that end, I give you:

Petty Officer First Class Tomas Davila


Petty Officer First Class is a “plank owner” of the USS New Orleans, meaning he was a part of the ship’s crew even before the vessel was officially commissioned. This strong affinity for the ship extends to its namesake, the city of New Orleans. Davila called the city home for a short time while serving in the Navy and ever since has had a fondness for the place he calls the “Queen of the South.” He currently manages 13 technicians onboard the USS New Orleans but will get a break from troubleshooting computers and repairing navigation system on November 2-7, when he takes part in Navy Week. Here are some of his thoughts on Navy service and New Orleans:

Connection to New Orleans:

“I had the opportunity to live in New Orleans for a short time while at the pre-commissioning detachment. While there, I was amazed at the city’s charm and the hospitable nature of her people. I consider New Orleans as the Queen of the South and will always keep her close to my heart.”

Most memorable experience in uniform:

“The day I came home after my tour in Iraq; the sounds of my mother’s tears and my father’s joy will always stick with me. That day my dad, a Vietnam veteran, told me how proud he was of me and opened up for the first time about his times in the Army. Our relationship has only grown stronger since.”

What Navy Week means to me:

“Navy Week is a great opportunity for me to show others what it means to be in the Navy. To demonstrate how our core values – honor, courage and commitment – are not solely military terms but life values for anyone. Additionally, these events give communities a chance to see firsthand what we do and allow Sailors to express our appreciation for their support.”

For more information on Navy Week, and to learn about events where you can meet Sailors like Petty Officer First Class Davila, visit: You can also become a fan of Navy Weeks on Facebook. Just search “Navy Weeks” or follow this link.