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Nation’s Navy personnel celebrate 240-year legacy

By Verda L. Parker | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | October 14, 2015

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Birthday banners, blue and gold streamers, food, cake and other décor were displayed around Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany as personnel and visiting leadership from Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida, kicked-off the Navy’s 240th birthday celebration at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Oct. 13.

The clinic’s staff was bustling in preparation of the day’s scheduled activities in commemoration of the event, which commenced with a historical birthday message from Capt. John LeFavour, commanding officer, Naval Hospital Jacksonville.

“On Oct. 13, 1775, the Continental Congress voted to establish a naval force to contest the British Navy during the early days of the American Revolution,” the skipper wrote. “A small fleet of ships, along with a brave group of privateers, intercepted munition ships supplying the British Army in America.

“We honor this legacy, to remember who we are, and where we came from,” he added.  “We remember those who came before us; those who made the ultimate sacrifice and their families.

“From its humble beginning 240 years ago, our Navy today is the world’s most powerful naval force,” LeFavour continued.  “We lead in innovation, not only in warfare, but also in medicine, expeditionary medical care and technology.

“I couldn't be more proud of each and every one of you across our hospital and five branch health clinics; you are building our Navy’s future legacy,” he concluded. “Thank you so much for all you do, each and every day. Happy birthday to our great Navy!”

Cmdr. Raymond Bristol, officer-in-charge, NBHC Albany, discussed the significance of the day’s activities.

“Some 240 years ago the U.S. Navy came into existence and was formally established,” Bristol recalled. “So, this is just an opportunity for us to celebrate our history and heritage.

 “We had a joint (activity) today,” the commander pointed out. “We were honored to have our leaders from Jacksonville here with us. So, we incorporated them in with the presentations (we conducted) to highlight the Navy’s heritage and history; specifically, one presentation focused on the Battle of Okinawa (Japan) and the second one was on the influential and significant female leaders in the Navy.”

Several sailors at the clinic commented on the meaning and importance of the celebration to them and fellow corpsmen.

Hospitalman Anton Moreno, NBHC Albany, coordinator of the clinic’s birthday celebration, highlighted some of the day’s events.

“Right now, we have a feast going on and later on in the day, we’re going to have some team-building sports as well,” Moreno said. “Ultimate Frisbee is what’s on the agenda right now.

“We have monthly challenges and divide the clinic staff into two teams – a blue team and a gold team,” he added. “It just so happens, this month the challenge was a presentation on the Navy’s history. The presentations took place earlier today, but I don’t know at this point who took the cake on that one.”

There was no shortage of other sailors wanting to share their thoughts on the 240th birthday celebration of the nation’s Navy fighting force.

“I enjoy being in the Navy,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Cholee Ward, x-ray technician, Radiology, NBHC Albany, said. “Today’s celebration is about the 240th birthday of the Navy, but we’re celebrating all aspects of the Navy – what it stands for and what it means to be in the Navy. It’s about great food; great people and we’re just having a great time today.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Keshaun Jeffers, leading petty officer of the clinic, NBHC Albany, spoke on the significance of the celebration and the day’s schedule.

“The significance of this day is the 240th birthday of our nation’s Navy,” Jeffers said. “There will be presentations, a luncheon and of course a cake; you can’t have a birthday without cake. After that, the corpsmen will be getting out of uniforms and heading out to Covella Pond to enjoy each other’s company for a day of fun and sports.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Ricky Cuevas, leading petty officer, Ancillary Services, NHBC Albany, offered his feelings about the Navy’s 240-year history.

“Today, we’re celebrating 240 years of excellence and pride,” Cuevas said. “Everything that we do, including teamwork with the Marine Corps, is because we just love being operational and being in the Navy. It’s just the greatness of who we are to this organization; that’s what makes us who we are. It’s just great to be in the Navy.”

The celebration concluded in a cake-cutting ceremony, with the youngest sailor at the clinic, Hospital Apprentice Kailex Pipkins, and the longest serving naval member at the clinic, retired Navy Capt. Patricia Montgomery, family nurse practitioner, primary care, NBHC Albany, sharing in the cutting of the 240th birthday cake.

The team sports competition, which was scheduled at Covella Pond to culminate the celebration, was postponed due to sudden, afternoon thunderstorms and rain.
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