Although the Navy’s presence is always visible around Oak Harbor, both on the ground and in the sky, few residents have the chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at the base.
Hundreds of people jumped on the opportunity Saturday at this year’s open house at Ault Field.
Visitors had the rare opportunity to view and even board P-3C Orion and the new P-8A Poseidon.
The Navy also brought fire engines, drones, a helicopter, an EA-18G Growler and bomb-diffusing robots for the public to enjoy.
“My favorite thing is the helicopter,” said 4-year-old Artcher Fain. “If guys are in the water, they pull them up the rope and get them out of the water. If sharks are going after them, then the helicopter sees them!”
The cool overcast weather didn’t seem to dampen spirits.
The open house kicked off with a 5K run in the morning. Navy personnel also provided guided bus tours, K-9 working dog demonstrations and a musical performance. In addition to military-related activities, there was a bouncy house, climbing wall and variety of vendors and informational tables.
Anastasia Spade said she took her son last year, but this year the almost-3-year-old boy understood more and was more excited about everything he got to see. As Spade spoke, her son Daniel enthusiastically ran around and pointed at the Orion display.