Cleveland is set to hold its first Navy Week since 2018 as fleet charts course for the city Sept. 4 to 10 in conjunction with the 210th celebration of the Battle of Lake Erie.
For one Navy sailor, this Navy week is extra special.
Chief Jasmyn L. Phinizy said she is a Latino woman from Lorain.
Phinizy, who was named Reserve Sailor of the Year for 2021, said her family has a long military history serving in every branch except for the Space Force and U.S. Coast Guard, and that being a part of it, is something special to her.
“I grew up in Lorain and went to Admiral King High School where they had a JROTC program,” she said. “It was through there that I really began connecting with the Navy.
“And at 17, I signed up to join, and just a few weeks after graduation, I was on my way to boot camp.”
Over the next 15 years, the sailor continued to travel up the ranks, making chief petty officer in June 2021.
“It was really really cool to be named sailor of the year but also nerve wracking,” Phinizy said. “You go through a series of boards starting with your commander and it goes all the way up to the Pentagon, where they choose someone from the final five.”
After being escorted around Washington, D.C., by members of the Pentagon, the winning sailor automatically becomes a chief petty officer, she said.
But the celebrations continue for Phinizy as she prepares to return home for one of the first times during Navy Week.
According to the U.S. Navy Office of Community Outreach, Cleveland Navy Week is a chance to bring sailors from across the fleet to emphasize the importance of the Navy to Cleveland, the state of Ohio and the nation.
“We are excited to bring the Navy Week program to Cleveland,” said Navy Office of Community Outreach director Commander Anthony Falvo in a news release. “Seapower and America’s Navy are more important now than ever before.
“The U.S. Navy remains our nation’s most powerful instrument of military influence and Navy Weeks allow us to showcase how the Navy serves America at sea, in the air, and ashore.”
More than 50 sailors are expected to descend upon the city for various events across the area including engaging with students across multiple high schools and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland as well as volunteering and having public demonstrations at the Great Lakes Science Center, Greater Cleveland Aquarium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the release said.
“For me, Navy Week is a chance to meet with the local community and leave your impact,” Phinizy said. “It is a great way to put a face to the institution and show the importance of the Navy as more than just a body that serves and protects the nation, but also as an active helping force.”
A full schedule of Navy Week events can be found at https://outreach.navy.mil/Navy-Weeks/Cleveland-2023/.