Add Navy Week to the list of events cancelled as the result of automatic budget cuts imposed when Congress and the White House could not agree on how to solve the debt crisis. The Navy this afternoon announced that Navy Week, which would have brought a ship and personnel to the Tampa Bay area to raise awareness, is a victim of what is known as sequestration. Earlier this month, MacDill Air Force Base announced it was cancelling AirFest 2013, scheduled for April 6 and 7. The Navy’s decision to cancel Navy Week – originally scheduled for April 1 to 7 – came sometime in the last few weeks, according to Lt. Chika Onyekanne, a Navy spokesman.
The decision, said Onyekanne, was related to MacDill’s decision, because the Navy was counting on the Blue Angels acrobatic team, scheduled to perform at AirFest, to draw crowds. The Blue Angels appearances were curtailed by the automatic budget cuts. In addition, the Navy, faced with budget shortfalls as a result of sequestration, cancelled the visit of the USS Halyburton, a frigate. “Due to the budget constraints, we will not have the assets to support Navy Week,” said Onyekanne. The Navy, however, will still have a presence starting next month. Sailors from United States Central Command, Navy Operational Support Center Tampa, and Navy Recruiting District Miami, will still make presentations to civic groups around the Tampa Bay area, according to Onyekanne. The events kick off with a visit by sailors to the Joe and Anne Garcia Salesian Boys & Girls Club on April 1 between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., and will culminate 7 p.m. April 5 with Navy Night at Tropicana Field when the Cleveland Indians take on the Tampa Bay Rays.