The latest from Key West’s Military Affairs Committee

Key West Military Affairs Committee’s (MAC) mission is to foster and strengthen the relationship between the military and civilians in our community.

From MAC president 

Ron Demes: 

This past month included a successful Army Special Forces Under Water Operations (SFUWO) Combat Diver Competition with the Army’s 5th Special Forces Group taking first prize in a close competition. Second and third place were also won by Army teams and fourth place went to Navy SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One. 

The community got to witness the Army Special Forces capabilities exercise (CAPEX) at Truman Harbor involving helicopter, boat and combat diver operations. SFUWO Commander Major Brandon Schwartz and MAC sincerely thank all organizations and community members that contributed to the event’s success. The Army is looking to hold an even bigger combat diver competition next year and provide the community another great opportunity to watch elite combat forces in action in Key West.  

U.S. Navy’s birthday ball

Oct. 13 marked the Navy’s 248th birthday. The Navy Ball Committee celebrated with another well-attended celebration at Marriott Beachside Hotel. The black-tie event welcomed speaker Command Master Chief (Surface Warfare/Air Warfare/Fleet Marine Force)(Ret.) James G. Parlier. 

Parlier enlisted in the Navy in 1978, became a hospital corpsman and rose to master chief petty officer with an impressive career of diverse assignments leading to the command master chief (CMC) program. He then took immediate orders to serve as USS Cole (DDG 67) Command Master Chief, where he experienced the horrific terrorist attack on Oct. 12, 2000 — 23 years and one day before he spoke at this year’s Navy Ball. 

Parlier recalled the day of the attack, the loss of life, heroic life-saving efforts and the crew’s defense of their sinking ship. The takeaway from Parlier is that our Navy today is ready to meet any challenge, as it has in its 248 years of “Power, Presence and Protection.”

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