NAVY LEAGUE NEWS
Navy Leaguers from around the country “flew in” to Capitol Hill Dec. 3 for a day of meetings and
briefings with members of Congress from their respective regions to stress the need for their support of the
U.S. sea services.
Split into more than two-dozen teams, 77 Navy
League representatives — including a group made up
of National President Skip Witunski, past National
Presidents James H. Offutt and Sheila M. McNeill, and
National Vice President for Legislative Affairs Geoffrey
Prosch — fanned out among the legislative office
buildings to make 217 presentations to senators, representatives or their staffs. The broad-based presentations focused on the sea services’ role as the first line
of defense for the nation; Navy, Marine Corps, Coast
Guard and maritime trade priorities; the Navy League’s
America’s Strength Campaign to ensure sea service
funding needs are met; and budgetary concerns.
The Fly-In was organized by the Navy League’s
Legislative Affairs Committee and Headquarters staff.
It was the second Anchors Aweigh Fly-In the Navy
League has conducted; the first, in November 2013,
saw 83 Navy Leaguers deliver 136 presentations.
“The 2015 Fly-In Hill visit achieved results well
beyond our planned and anticipated levels,” said
Donald A. Giles, who co-chairs the Legislative Affairs
Committee with James P. Bras. “We delivered a strong
message about our Navy League support for the high-
priority requirements of our sea services.”
Giles attributed the increased success of the 2015
; Greater grassroots involvement by Navy League
members in requesting appointments.
; A Fly-In plan that incorporated lessons learned
from the first Fly-In.
; A highly motivated and well-trained cadre of Navy
; A supportive Navy League staff, and a dedicated
group of leaders on the Legislative Affairs Committee.
; Flexibility of participants to achieve added walk-in
appointments on the day of the Fly-In.
Another critical element was a hot debrief at a
“Pizza Reception,” with all participants completing
Legislator Contact Reports.
“These reports provided a source for any needed
follow-up with members of Congress and a source for
lessons learned to improve results of the next Fly-In.
Many Congressional staff members attended the recep-
tion, further providing an opportunity to reinforce our
message with them, and to get more personal reaction
from them,” Giles said.
Despite several mid-morning interruptions as House
members were called for votes involving the “Ad-
vancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act of 2015” and
“North American Energy Security and Infrastructure
Act of 2015,” the members of Congress were welcom-
ing and receptive to the Fly-In presentations, according
“You get a mixed audience because one we spoke to
was a former Marine [U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind.]
and is all on board with everything,” said Tom Baker
with the Great Lakes-Wisconsin/Illinois Fly-In team.
“And then some of the other ones, which is really why
we’re here, freely admitted that they weren’t familiar
with this or they weren’t familiar with that.”
“They were also very interested in local stuff, Sea
Cadets, programs for young people back in their districts,” added National Director Bobby Ferguson, who
Navy League Brings Concerns
to Congress During Fly-In
By PETER ATKINSON, Deputy Editor
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 62 SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016
U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., receives a briefing by Mid-
Atlantic team members, from the left, Lincoln Smith, Bre
Kingsbury and Bethany Klein at his office on Capitol Hill
during the Navy League Anchors Aweigh Fly-In on Dec. 3.