From left, Major Brandon Schwartz on behalf of Special Forces Association Southernmost Chapter, accepts a $1,000 sponsorship check in support of the upcoming Combat Divers Competition to be hosted by the Special Forces Underwater Operations (Dive School) in Key West. CONTRIBUTED

Key West Military Affairs Committee’s (MAC) mission is to foster and strengthen the relationship between the military and civilians in our community.

From MAC president Ron Demes: 

September is a busy month for military-related activities, including the Army Special Forces Underwater Operations’ Combat Diver Competition Sept. 26-28 featuring the best special operations teams from various military forces testing their rigor, adaptability, mental agility, physical toughness and grit. Also, an Army Special Forces capabilities exercise will take place at Truman Harbor on Thursday, Sept. 28 from noon to 2 p.m. it’s open to the public and photos are permitted. 

Florida’s Department of Commerce/Florida Defense Support Task Force recently brought consultants to Key West as part of the effort to develop a four-year strategic plan for the state. As part of Florida’s efforts to grow the military missions in the state, Roosevelt Group consultants visited several local military commands and held two meetings with community representatives. The Key West itinerary included military tours and briefs of Joint Interagency Task Force South, USCG Sector Key West, Special Forces Underwater Operations (Army Dive School), and Naval Air Station Key West. One of the goals is to identify actions that Florida, local governments, businesses or community organizations can pursue to increase military value of those installations. Key West Military Affairs Committee (MAC) coordinated the Roosevelt Group’s visit, which demonstrated this community’s commitment to our military.

MAC’s September general membership meeting

The featured presentation this month was on the Florida Keys Division of the United States Sea Cadet Corps. MAC has secured a $100,000 grant for the last two years to support the local Sea Cadet Unit. This grant from the Edward B. and Joan T. Knight Foundation allows for life- changing experiences for kids participating in the program. The unit’s Executive Officer, CWO3 Wilber W. Lewis, gave an overview of the unit’s accomplishments and what is ahead for this year. It was great to hear one of the cadets just obtained their pilot’s license as part of the program. Cadets also obtain Scuba certifications. MAC Is proud to be part of that success. The Navy League Key West Council also plays a critical role in the Sea Cadet Program as they are responsible for program oversight.