LPS students set sail on Navy Week experiences

Petty Officer Second Class Kimberly Martinez knew she wanted to venture beyond the safe harbors of Nebraska when she decided to join the United States Navy.
Lincoln Northeast students learned how Martinez’s dreams have become reality during a Navy Week visit at the high school.
Martinez joined other Navy sailors for a full morning of activities Aug. 23. They spoke with students about their careers and how the Navy supports American citizens both at home and abroad. Members of the elite U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard also delivered a drill team performance for an audience.
Martinez, 22, said her aunt was an inspirational role model as she explored her options after graduating from Omaha Bryan. Her aunt has been in the Navy for 17 years and encouraged her to consider spending time on the world’s waterways. Martinez said her own experiences have been everything she could have hoped for and more.
“I’ve been to seven countries in the past four months, which is pretty amazing to think about,” Martinez told a room full of Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) students. “I’m really glad the Navy has given me this opportunity. When you’re growing up in Omaha, you never think that you’re going to get to travel to all of these places, but it’s happened.”
Lieutenant Commander Jill Brown of the Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) said those stories are why sailors wanted to visit LPS schools. They spent time talking with students at Lincoln High, Northeast, North Star and Northwest throughout the week. The school visits were one part of a multi-pronged community outreach initiative Aug. 21-27 in Lincoln.
“It’s extremely important to educate kids about what their Navy is doing to protect the seas and ensuring that we keep our sea lanes open for shipping and our ships to transit freely,” said Brown, who has served the country for more than 30 years. “It’s also important for our next generation to learn about all of the different jobs and benefits that the Navy has to offer.”
Northeast students Kiegon and Beau said they were impressed by what they heard from the sailors. Kiegon said he enjoyed learning about the different careers that the Navy provides, while Beau said he was interested in the chance to travel to all spots on the globe.
“I like that it gives you an opportunity to explore the world while getting a feel for what you want to do after high school,” Beau said. “Sometimes you don’t know what you want to do when you go to college, so this can help you explore your options.”
Brown said the trip to Lincoln was one of 13 Navy Week experiences that NAVCO is coordinating this year. Sailors have been visiting regions such as Nebraska that do not have a significant Navy presence. The program’s purpose is to help people learn about the Navy and how it impacts national security.
Sailors from the Navy Talent Acquisition Group, Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command, USS Constitution and USS Tortuga spoke with LPS students. They also volunteered at Lincoln Food Bank, CEDARS and Lincoln branches of the YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, United Way and Boys & Girls Clubs of America organizations.

Published: August 25, 2023, Updated: August 25, 2023

Members of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard perform at Lincoln Northeast on Aug. 23. The elite unit serves as the funeral escort for Navy personnel who are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Sailors spent time at multiple LPS high schools as part of Navy Week activities.