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Navy Rear Admiral meets with Waco city leaders

"Navy folks come by, I was overwhelmed, wow, what an honor," said McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara after he met with Navy Rear Admiral James Bynum and his fellow sailors.

WACO — Navy Week arrives in Waco for the second stop of 14 cities around the country. The public is invited to a host of events all week long, leading up to the Heart of Texas Airshow April 7-8.

Navy Rear Admiral James Bynum is from Waco, Texas, so Waco Navy Week is a homecoming for him.

There are about 150 sailors that will be a part of the week's festivities, including school visits, Navy Band Southwest performances and the airshow featuring the renowned Blue Angels--a return to Waco for them for the first time in more than 30 years. This is the only performance for the Blue Angels in North and Central Texas this year, according to Debby Standefer, the Heart of Texas Airshow President and CEO.

On Monday, Bynum met with McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara and his staff. McNamara discussed his career as a U.S. Marshal and told the Rear Admiral historic family stories. He ended the meeting telling Bynum and the sailors about his appreciation for the military.

Rear Admiral Bynum then met with Waco Superintendent Dr. A. Marcus Nelson, where they discussed many topics, including career opportunities for students.

Bynum said the purpose of Waco Navy Week is to expose Central Texas to the Navy.

"One of the things we're facing is a challenging world. And the folks, where we had a tremendous advantage in the past, we don't have that anymore. We have some near-peer competitors, it's really a great power struggle right now between if you look at China right now and the build-up they've made in their forces as well as a resurgent Russia," he said.

The Rear Admiral said anyone who is interested in a career in the Navy is welcome to explore the displays and the airshow demonstrations this weekend. He said they also want to spread the Navy's message in the schools since he said students are the future of the military.

"The Navy members -- including sailors in period clothing from the historic USS Constitution --ARE visiting schools around Waco this week like the YMCA, La Vega High School, Lake Air Montessori and Vanguard School," he said.

Bynum said the goal for the Navy is to get more powerful.

"And as we've been through a good number of years against those violent extremist organizations and operations over in the Middle East and other places around the globe, we've worn down some of our equipment and we haven't been able to keep pace as those other threats and other capabilities have been advancing," he said.

Bynum tells me the budget that passed Congress last month will improve defense spending and help them reach that goal.

For a full look at what is happening for Waco Navy Week, click here.

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