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Navy Makes Impact at World Oceans Day, NOLA Aquarium Grand Re-Opening

NEW ORLEANS——U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (Naval Oceanography) was featured at the grand re-opening of the Audubon Aquarium for World Oceans Day, June 8.
The New Orleans Audubon Aquarium re-opened for business after a long shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As an invited guest to the World Oceans Day event, Naval Oceanography was able to showcase its mission and the personnel who make it happen.
Participating Naval Oceanography representatives were: Emily Bodin, Oceanographer at Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVO); Lieutenant Jai Chappell, Meteorology and Oceanography Officer at Naval Oceanography; Aerographer’s (AG) Mate Second Class Petty Officer Eric Corkern, Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center (NOMWC); and Aerographer’s Mate Third Class Petty Officer Lars Cheatham, NOMWC.
“I was amazed at the level of interest from both children and adults…the crowd was certainly familiar with the Navy, which allowed us [Naval Oceanography] to easily expound upon the mission we conduct in the ocean, considering it was World Oceans Day,” said Chappell.
Inside the New Orleans Aquarium, Naval Oceanography featured: two unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV); informational content; mission accomplishments; damaged UUV nosecones attacked by sharks; and ocean floor samples/artifacts.
The two UUVs present at the event—utilized by Naval Oceanography—were the Slocum Glider, an autonomous UUV used to collect a variety of oceanographic data to understand ocean water columns around the globe; and the Mk 18 Mod 1 Swordfish UUV, capable of performing low-visible exploration and reconnaissance, and hydrographic mapping.
The attending audience quickly gravitated to Naval Oceanography Sailors in uniform, but it was NAVO’s Bodin as its civilian componentwith compelling, hands-on artifacts from her Geology Labthat garnered significant attention to the Naval Oceanography exhibit. 
“Ocean floor samples from our [NAVO] Geology Lab are always captivating to people when they realize the depths of the ocean which they were collected, and the valuable information seafloor sediments can provide to the Fleet,” said Bodin.
As a U.S. Navy Civilian, Bodinnot onlyclearly understands her agency’s mission within the Department of Defense and Navy, but also challenges faced in hiring the necessary civilian talent to continue the important work in maintaining National Security and Interests.     
Bodin spoke with a local New Orleans all-news radio station, WWL FM 105.3, and did not hesitate to promote the U.S. Navy as a viable employer for civilian work.
“I wanted to emphasize the importance of the METOC community’s efforts not only presently, but in years to come, by highlighting the work of Federal-Civilian employees and how we play a vital role in the continuity of mission readiness and execution,” said Bodin.
Naval Oceanography is co-located in the Gulf Coast region with the Audubon Aquarium, with New Orleans-native AG2 Corkern supporting also making connection more personal as guests realized the hometown commonality.
“I never thought after joining the Navy I would be home [ New Orleans], inside of place I visited several times as a kid, and sharing valuable experiences I have had thus far in my careers as a Sailor. . .it was truly an honor!,” said Corkern.
Naval Oceanography has approximately 2,500 globally distributed military and civilian personnel, who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to guarantee the U.S. Navy’s freedom of action in the physical battlespace from the depths of the ocean to the stars.