By Mark Waite
The freedom of the country depends on the help of civilian organizations such as the U.S. Navy League, Phil Dunmire, national president, said during the chartering of the Pahrump chapter Thursday afternoon at the Artesia Clubhouse.
“It’s easy to take for granted our freedom. This is a very safe place. New York was very safe until Sept. 11th. A lot of wonderful service personnel went to work in the Pentagon on Sept. 11th as well, some of them did not go home to their families,” Dunmire said.
“Of those who shipped out in World War II in submarines, more than 20 percent did not return. It’s the highest casualty rate of any branch of the service in World War II.”
The Navy League was incorporated in 1902, an early benefactor was former President Theodore Roosevelt who donated part of his money from the Nobel Peace Prize, Dunmire said. Pahrump becomes the 247th chartered council of the Navy League, an organization with 49,000 members.
Pahrump already has a U.S. Marine Corps League detachment.
Lois Carrington is the new president of the Pahrump Valley Council and Jack Hildum vice-president, Carrington is a 30-year member, Hildum has commandeered seven Navy League councils.
The Pahrump council can plan activities to support the sea services, which includes the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine, Dunmire said. They can adopt a ship, a unit or station. He suggested putting together CARE packages to send to servicemen, who may need things like clean pairs of socks after five months in Afghanistan.
One Navy League chapter convinced students in a fourth grade class to send letters to servicemen in Afghanistan, Dunmire said. He suggested Navy League members could welcome back returning veterans from Afghanistan and help them find a job.
“You probably don’t get too many Navy ships visiting Pahrump, Nevada but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a hold of a council located in a port that does get ship visits and ask what can you do to support those ships that visit those ports,” he said.
Dunmire said 10 percent of the midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy were Sea Cadets, a program supported by the Navy League in which he said cadets go to naval installations and learn how to be cooks, navy corpsmen and run a boat.
Dunmire said he attended a presentation on hyperbaric oxygen treatment for a Marine with traumatic head injuries at Navy League headquarters in Arlington, Va. the night before he came to Pahrump.
He said 190,000 military personnel suffer brain injuries, they don’t sleep well at night and in this case, the serviceman’s wife twice left him due to abusive treatment. Dunmire said the Navy League is promoting this type of therapy.
“He was provided this hyperbaric oxygen treatment gratis, not by the veterans’ department, not by the Marine Corps, but by people who believe in this type of treatment. They have a one-year-old infant child, three children, he is happily married and able to function. It was actually 75 years ago that the Navy pioneered hyperbaric oxygen treatment for people who came up too quickly from a dive and had nitrogen in their blood,” Dunmire said.
In 2010, Navy League councils donated $1.7 million, the national headquarters donated $583,753 to the Sea Cadets. The Treasure Coast Council has sent 1 million paperbacks to military servicemen overseas since 1999. Over $20,000 worth of CARE packages have been sent overseas.
While on a trip to the national convention in Jacksonville, Fla. last month, Dunmire said he sat at a table with two Navy SEALS. One of the SEALS recalled how he was being airlifted into Afghanistan on a mission, got on a cell phone and called his wife who was in the delivery room delivering their first baby when he was interrupted by incoming rounds.
“It’s just a marvelous honor to be with these folks who have accomplished so much for this nation,” Dunmire said.
The Navy League presents 20 awards every year to various sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and merchant mariners every year, Dunmire said, out of hundreds of nominees.
Navy League members help organize ship commissionings, Dunmire said. He only attended one ship commissioning, but it was a significant one, the USS Cole, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which was attacked by terrorists in 2000 and a 30-foot hole blown in the hull.
Dunmire said he will be attending a service for Navy SEAL Kevin Husted, in Hyannis, Mass., who went on a mission in Afghanistan with 20 of his SEAL compatriots and was shot down.
Dunmire recalled the words of Theodore Roosevelt who said, “It seems to me that all good Americans interested in the growth of their country and sensitive to its honor should give hearty support to the policies which the Navy League is founded to further. For the building and maintaining in proper shape of the American Navy we must rely on nothing but the broad and farsighted patriotism of our people as a whole.”
The contact address is: Navy League of the United States, 2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 200, Arlington, Va. 22201-5424. The toll-free phone number is 1-800-356-5760.