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Navy week hits Nampa

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  • Phelps Hobart
    Navy week hits Nampa http://www.idahopress.com/news/article_d6c70b0a-b330-11df-bf53-001cc4c03286.html?photo=1 Mike Vogt/IPT Mike Vogt/IPT Chuck Fleenor, left,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 4, 2010
      Navy week hits Nampa

      Mike Vogt/IPT Mike Vogt/IPT Chuck Fleenor, left, and Richard Hinkel, both of Kuna chats about the Douglas AD Dive Bomber that they remember on their carriers. Fleenor served in the Korean War and Hinkel served in the Gulf War. Saturday August 28, 2010

      Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010

      By Tabitha Simenc

      NAMPA — Navy SEALs descended on Nampa’s Warhawk Air Museum  — literally — Saturday to celebrate a Navy Day as they wrap up the local Navy week.

      “It’s wonderful because it brings people to the museum,” Sue Paul, director of the Warhawk Air Museum, said. “We were honored that the U.S. Navy chose the (museum) as a part of their Fleet Week to honor naval aviation.”

      Boise is one of 19 cities across the United States to have a Navy Week this year. The event aims to spread awareness about the Navy and reach out to communities that, because of their non-coastal locations, do not have much exposure to the Naval branch of the military.

      A USS Enterprise float, several historic planes and a model of the USS Boise submarine were on display in the new hangar at the museum. The new wing officially opened Friday and the public was able to see the new area at the Navy event.

      “I think it’s really good,” Vietnam War army veteran Bill Garcia of Sacramento, Calif., said. “It’s nice to see everything here on display. It’s a good turnout.”

      A Navy diver demonstration also took place and the Leap Frog U.S. Navy Parachute Team completed two successful jumps from a C-130 H-2 Hercules aircraft, provided by the Kentucky Air National Guard.

      The Leap Frog team, based out of San Diego, Calif., is on the road 250 days in a year and jumps at around 120-130 shows in that time.

      Gusting winds made organizers doubt whether the team would be able to complete their second jump in the afternoon. Luckily, Chief Justin Gauny, a Navy SEAL for 18 years, Isaiah Maring, Navy SEAL, Thomas Kinn, parachute rigger and Jim Woods, safety officer and retired Navy SEAL were able to make the jump.

      Two had flags flying below them and the other two had red smoke billowing behind them, highlighting the air tricks they performed. Those gathered clapped and cheered as the team reached the ground.

      “I like seeing them hit their target,” Duane Ferguson, Korean War Navy veteran of Caldwell, said after he watched the team land successfully.

      The four jumpers packed up their parachutes with the help of children from the crowd.

      Aaron Darakjy of Coeur d’Alene is a member of the Leap Frog team and worked as the drop zone safety officer Saturday. The team members take turns to be on the ground as they would all rather jump, he said.

      “What we like is getting out into the air and jumping and showcasing our skills for future generations,” he said.

      To jump with the Leap Frog team, members must be a Navy SEAL special warfare combatant craft crewman and serve a three-year tour with the team.

      Other Navy SEALs present at the event were recruiters, who serve a three-year shore duty after experience serving on a fleet.

      Organizers wanted to have some SEALs of the USS Boise namesake crew visit for the event but they were on deployment.

      “It’s going great,” Rick McClosky, lead production team supervisor with the U.S. Navy said of the Navy Day event. “There’s quite a few people out here … it’s good to just create Navy awareness.”

      He said recruiters have created a lot of interest in the local area. He and other SEALs visited Vallivue High School this week and had more than 50 students sign up to have the Navy contact them with more information.

      The U.S. Navy recruits ages 17 to 34 for active duty and 17 to 39 for reserves. McClosky said 17 to 22 is the target age range.

      Mike Harrison of Meridian used to serve in the Navy and brought his four children along to the event.

      “It’s just neat for the kids to come down and see different parts of the military,” he said.

      Teresa Thomason brought her brother, Calvin Hill, both of Boise, to the museum for his birthday.

      “It was fun to watch them jump out of the plane,” Hill said.

      A history fan, he also liked seeing the historic warplanes on display.

      His sister enjoyed the tricks the jumpers displayed for the crowd.

      “With the smoke you could see them spinning, even up there,” she said.

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