By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich, 15th Wing Public Affairs
Navy Region Hawaii celebrated Earth Day and National Park Week during Pearl Harbor Colors, an honors and heritage ceremony held April 23 at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
The ceremony focused on the Navy’s efforts to contribute to a more sustainable environment.
Lt. Cmdr. Rob Franklin, operations officer for commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, spoke about this month’s ceremony theme.
“In alignment with the Department of the Navy’s 2015 Earth Day theme, ‘A Sustainable Future Begins With You,’ our Sailors ashore and afloat are acting in innovative ways, taking ownership of efforts to conserve resources, shift to renewable energy, minimize hazardous waste, and recycle,” said Franklin.
Franklin spoke to the crowd of military service members, National Park Personnel and visitors about the Navy’s energy goals.
“One of the five goals is to demonstrate and then deploy a ‘Great Green Fleet,’ which will include ships and aircraft using alternative sources of energy and utilizing multiple energy conservation measures as part of their regular, scheduled deployments through the calendar year in 2016,” said Franklin.
“The ‘Great Green Fleet’ represents the new normal, where our Navy values energy as a strategic resource, maximizing energy efficiencies and cultivating multiple sources of alternative energy,” he said.
Additionally, the ceremony honored the National Park Service and celebrated National Park Week. Paul DePrey, the superintendent of the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, described the celebration.
“National Park Week is a presidentially-proclaimed celebration of our national heritage. It helps people recognize the importance of national parks in their lives. Almost every national park has a celebration, event or commemoration during National Park Week,” said DePrey.
This year’s National Park Week is the kickoff of the Centennial Initiative 2016 of the National Park Service.
According to DePrey, the initiative was undertaken to prepare national parks for another century of conservation, preservation, education and enjoyment.
“This is the beginning of a new century of the National Park Service caring for these treasures we call our national parks,” said DePrey. “So our challenge to you is to get out there, find your park, and take part in many of the amazing opportunities to be found.”
Sponsored by Navy Region Hawaii in coordination with the National Park Service, Pearl Harbor Colors, held once a month, is an opportunity for local residents and international visitors to witness a U.S. military ceremony, featuring the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band, the Joint Base Honors and Ceremonies Guard and an official observance of “morning colors.”