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Navy League National president pays visit to Oak Harbor

Oak Harbor Mayor and Navy League member, Mayor Jim Slowik, talks with National Navy League President Daniel Branch, Jr. Thursday after a lunch meeting at the Officer’s Club Thursday afternoon. - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor Mayor and Navy League member, Mayor Jim Slowik, talks with National Navy League President Daniel Branch, Jr. Thursday after a lunch meeting at the Officer’s Club Thursday afternoon.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

In its 67-year history, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station has never hosted a Navy League national president. That changed last week when Daniel Branch, Jr., stopped in for a visit during a whirlwind tour of Washington state.

Branch, the 45th National Navy League president, toured the Naval Air Station last Thursday to get a feel for the base and what it requires to maintain and improve operations.

“It helps us when we approach someone on the national level, to really have a feel for local needs, Branch said. “Our duties revolve around working with Congress.”

The Navy League is currently working on the “soft side, the human side” of negotiations, working face-to-face with national-level representatives to grow the league’s congressional influence, Branch said.

Branch’s wife Kathleen spoke of the importance of the league’s work.

“It gets real personal,” she said of Congress’ military and defense-funding decisions.

“One-hundred-percent of my children are naval aviators,” she said, directing a personal thank you to the Boeing employees in attendance.

Navy League, Oak Harbor Area Council National Director Beth Munns and President Dick Devlin introduced Daniel and Kathleen Branch to a gathering of 50 members during a lunch at the Officers Club.

“What a great opportunity to come and get to know the national president,” Devlin said of the event.

The Navy League is an American civilian organization with nearly 53,500 members world wide who advocate for a strong and effective Sea Service. One of the group’s current priorities is to re-build the Navy fleet.

The league would like a fleet of 313 ships. According to Navy League statistics, the current fleet contains 285 ships, the same number as in 1916. Just over 20 years ago, the fleet contained 592 ships.

For more information about the Navy League, visit www.navyleague.org.

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