By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Enright

BREMERTON, Wash. – More than 150 Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) participated in the 66th annual Armed Forces Day Parade in downtown Bremerton, May 17.

The parade, presented by the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce, gave Sailors a chance to show their appreciation for the long-running partnership between Stennis and the local Kitsap County community.

“This is a chance for us to get out there and interact with the local community,” said Stennis’ parade coordinator, Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Keith Foshee, from Springdale, Ark. “We want to show our appreciation for their continued support just as much as they want to pay their respects for what we do.”

The 1.5-mile parade route stretched from the corner of 18th street and Warren Avenue to the corner of 6th street and Pacific Avenue, and gave more than 30,000 spectators an opportunity to show their gratitude for 140 participating military and community organizations.

“Coming back to [something like] this is refreshing,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. John Theodore Parker. “It is inspiring to see men and women serving in the Navy still doing their part for the community.”

According to Chris Larsen, the Armed Forces Festival Committee chairman, the parade is the largest and longest running Armed Forces Day parade in the country.

“We had the largest parade in our history this year,” said Larsen. “Local businesses, schools from as far as Spokane, Wash. and 38 local area dignitaries have shown up to march alongside service members and give their thanks.”

Stennis is currently undergoing a DPIA maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

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