PHILADELPHIA – Sailors, assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Philadelphia, and representatives of City of Philadelphia celebrated the Navy’s 245th Birthday by raising the Navy flag in front of Philadelphia City Hall, Oct. 13.

The ceremony was organized by Carlo Aragoncillo, director, City of Philadelphia Office of Veterans Affairs, and was held at minimum participation as part of the city’s efforts to ensure adequate social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other mitigation measures, including mandatory use of face coverings and hand sanitizers, were implemented to ensure the safety of those in attendance.

“It is a great honor to represent our Navy and to celebrate its 245th Birthday in the City of Philadelphia, its birthplace,” said Cmdr. Kemi Elebute, commanding officer, NTAG Philadelphia. “I’m extremely proud to stand here today, next to the City Hall, to salute and watch our Navy’s flag as it flies over the city. We are grateful to the City of Philadelphia for hosting us and marking this great day. Today we celebrate 245 years of service to our great nation, and Sailors who continue to carry on the legacy, core values, and traditions of the Navy. The Sailors and family of NTAG Philadelphia are immensely proud to play our part and contribute to the Navy’s future, to ensure its continued growth and superiority for many years to come!”

During the ceremony, NTAG Philadelphia’s honor guard paraded the colors and Mr. Aragoncillo presented Cmdr. Elebute with a proclamation from James Kenney, mayor of Philadelphia, recognizing the Navy’s service, its significance in national defense, and the service of all Sailors, past, present, and future.

“It is with great pride that we can call the City of Philadelphia the birthplace of the world’s strongest naval fleet,” said Aragoncillo. “It’s important that we honor our City’s military history and tradition so that we pave the way forward for future generations to come, and that’s what the Office of Veterans Affairs will continue to do.”

Following the presentation of the proclamation, the youngest Sailor present, Electronics Technician 2nd Class Sarah Stuart, from Franklinville, N.J., had the honor to hoist the Navy’s flag.

“It is quite humbling that I was asked to be a part of the flag raising ceremony,” said Personnel Specialist 1st Class Carlos Garay, from Miami, a member of NTAG Philadelphia’s honor guard. “I love the Navy, I love this nation, and being from a family of immigrants, I am very grateful for the opportunities the Navy provided me and this country has given me. Happy Birthday, Navy!”

The central theme of this year's 245th birthday and heritage week is "Victory at Sea," which encompasses the Navy's efforts in battle during World War II in the Pacific Theater.

NTAG Philadelphia encompasses regions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia, providing recruiting services from more than 30 talent acquisition sites with the overall goal of attracting the highest quality candidates to ensure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.



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Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)