U.S. Navy LCDR Angelo Lonero, assigned to the "Blackjacks: of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 (HSC-21), speaks to students on the capabilities of an MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter on the flight deck on the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6) during a ship tour in support of Fleet Week San Diego (SDFW) 2023. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Tang.

NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND – Fleet Week in San Diego unfolded in early November as a grand spectacle of innovation and technology, transforming the Port Pavilion Building into a vibrant hub of the future.

The nearly 4,000 enthusiastic students in attendance created an endearing scene with children eagerly asking one another, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This simple yet profound question underscored the event’s impact, notably at the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) booth within the “Innovation Zone.”

Innovation Zone

Introduced in 2017 and making a triumphant return this year, the Innovation Zone is a showcase of advanced technology applications in both military and civilian realms.

Captivating visitors with a glimpse into the technological advancements shaping our world, the event’s agenda was diverse and comprehensive.

A U.S. Navy Sailor, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1 (EODGRU 1), demonstrates diving capabilities during Fleet Week San Diego (FWSD) 2023. FWSD is an opportunity for the San Diego residents and tourists to meet their Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard teams and experience America’s sea services. Phot by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Tang.

The first two days, designated as Student STEM Days, brought in students from fourth grade onwards. This exclusive early access to the STEM Innovation Zone ignited a spark of curiosity and excitement among young minds and offered an immersive experience of new and innovative technologies, relevant in both military and civilian contexts.

Students enthralled by interactive displays

Elementary, middle, and high school students were visibly enthralled by the interactive displays, engaging tours, and live demonstrations.

The event resonated beyond just the display of technology. It served as a catalyst for the children, inspiring them to contemplate future careers in STEM fields and even the military.

This aspect was particularly evident in the interactions and reactions of the students, as they were exposed to real-world applications of science and technology.

FRCSW STEM program showcased Snap Circuits and a Van De Graaff Generator. Their platform offered a unique opportunity to engage and reach the community, leaving a lasting impression and nurturing aspirations.

FRCSW’s STEM portfolio

Such large-scale events form an integral part of FRCSW’s STEM portfolio, not only reinforcing its commitment to educational outreach but also demonstrating steadfast support for the fleet, fostering a connection between the community, education, and national service.

FRCSW encourages technological advancements and recognizes that they can provide significant advantages for its future workforce, as STEM becomes even more essential for the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

This importance comes from STEM’s influence in propelling technological progress, bolstering strategic capabilities, and fortifying national security.

Facing constantly shifting challenges in maritime operations and defense, STEM fields are crucial for creating state-of-the-art equipment, advanced communication systems, and innovative tactical approaches.

Stay at the forefront

By nurturing skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the Navy and Marine Corps are empowered to stay at the forefront, adapt to new threats, and effectively tackle intricate global matters. This commitment not only protects national interests at home but also asserts the nation’s influence on the global stage.

A U.S. Marine gives tours to a grade school student during Fleet Week San Diego (FWSD) 2023. FWSD is an opportunity for the San Diego residents and tourists to meet their Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard teams and experience America’s sea services. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Tang.

Fleet Week’s vibrant showcase of STEM not only ignited curiosity among thousands of young students but also highlighted the seamless integration of technology and education.

As FRCSW continues to harness the evolving potential of STEM, it strengthens its ability to fulfill its pivotal role.

Navy, Marine Corps equipped with tools

This synergy between expanding technological knowledge and mission execution is essential, ensuring that the Navy and Marine Corps are always equipped with the cutting-edge tools they need to triumph in their endeavors.

Such endeavors reflect the profound connection between learning, innovation, and national security, setting a formidable foundation for future success.

Story by Janina Lamoglia

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