COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The U.S. Navy celebrated its 245th Birthday and the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime joined the festivities with a trimmed down version of its fun-themed cardboard regatta. A celebration staple for the last several years, the COVID-19 health emergency has required health and safety adaptations that have scaled down this year’s version.
Dubbed “COVATTA”, this year’s birthday recognition shrank in both crowd size and water conditions. An inflatable pool, approximately 8 feet long and about 2 feet wide substituted as the lake, while smaller hand-built creations served as the ships.
Among the 10 entrants who battled through five competitive heats, all were overcome by “The Plague.” Commanded by Navy Lt. Margaret Anderson, The Plague skuttled all challengers as Anderson sailed her way to take top honors. DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Kristen Fabry weighed anchor, propelling her entry forward in the tongue-in-cheek celebration of the U.S. Navy, an honored military organization
Though the crowd was smaller than previous regattas they became increasingly animated, cheering on their favorites throughout the fun event.
After the festivities Fabry shifted the conversation to more serious coordinates, connecting the significance of the Navy’s birthday to the strategic support DLA provides to the nation’s military services. She referenced a John Paul Jones quote used by DLA Director Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic in recognition of the Navy’s birthday, “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way.” John Paul Jones was an American naval hero in the American Revolution.
Sharing a few words from the Chief of Naval Operations birthday message
, Fabry touched on the CNO’s “Victory at Sea” theme and encouraged everyone to take an opportunity to read the full message. “America has a great Navy,” Fabry said.
Fabry also extended appreciation to the COVATTA team that put the event together and provided some solace to fellow sailors who fell victim to The Plague.
“I want to thank everyone who built a boat to compete in our celebration of the Navy’s birthday,” Fabry said. “It was a lot of fun and I’m certain there were lots of nautical skills gained from our competition.”
Fabry presented the victor’s trophy to Anderson, the most dominant sailor of the day and commander of The Plague that wiped out the valiant Land and Maritime fleet.
The celebration ended with a revision of the traditional cake cutting ceremony. It was replaced by a ceremonial cookie cutting ceremony with Land and Maritime sailors representing the Navy’s lineage from oldest to youngest.