The Office of Naval Research was a significant presence during the Boston Navy Week festivities at the USS Constitution Museum at the Charlestown Navy Yard from July 4-6, with an ONR display featuring its signature program, SeaPerch. Boston Navy Week, June 29 - July 6, was one of 15 selected cities where America's Navy "came home" in 2012, giving area residents an opportunity to meet Sailors and learn about the Navy's capabilities and relevance to national security. The exhibit team consisted of Kate Crawford from ONR, who organized and managed the booth, Phil Kimball and Adam Desjardins who represented SeaPerch and three Navy reservists. Two water tanks were set up with mini-SeaPerch underwater ROV's available for kids of all ages to drive and test their skills.
ONR and SeaPerch were ably assisted by two U.S. Navy reservists, CDR David Huber and CAPT Daniel Burque, and joining the group was ONR P-38 reservist, LT Mark McDaniel, who had recently been trained with a number of ONR P-38 reservists at the U.S. Naval Academy to build and troubleshoot SeaPerches. These P-38 Reservists were among the first to be trained as Subject Matter Experts, or SME's, in SeaPerch. These specially-trained reservists will support SeaPerch activities such as trade shows and festivals by demonstrating the SeaPerch ROV's, promoting the program to the visiting public and by providing repairs and adjustments to the vehicles as necessary.
During the week-long historic celebration, tall ships from around the world, part of Operation Sail, visited the port of Boston to participate in the commemoration of the War of 1812 and the Star Spangled Banner with visits by U.S. Navy and international warships as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Training Barque, "Eagle" and a NOAA research vessel. On the 4th of July visitors to the Charlestown Navy Yard were treated to a show of spectacular formation flying by the Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the "Blue Angels,"and the "Leap Frogs," the Navy's Parachute Team. A little after noon, the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, fired a 21-gun salute during its annual turnaround cruise. During the day RADM Gregory Nosal, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Two, was visiting the USS Constitution Museum, and when he heard about the SeaPerch Educational Outreach program, he brought his entourage over to visit the ONR booth to learn about and drive a SeaPerch.
Over the three exhibit days there were 13,498 visitors to the USS Constitution Museum with approximately 1500 visitors to the ONR display, which was just outside the side doors of the museum and under a tent. We presented 500 ONR backpacks to eager and excited children who had operated SeaPerch ROV's for the first time. Also on hand were newly designed and printed SeaPerch brochures for the many interested parents, teachers and group leaders visiting the booth. All in all, the event was a resounding success and a truly positive experience for all who attended.