There will be a rare sight in northern Utah this week: dozens of sailors.
Salt Lake City is one of 15 host cities this year for Navy Week, in which the U.S. Navy drops in to meet local officials and show the public its skills. Many of the events are held at the Utah State Fair.
Rear Adm. Moises DelToro III, a University of Utah graduate, said this week the idea is to visit cities that don’t have much of a Navy presence and ”ensure everybody understands what the Navy’s about and why we have a Navy.” DelToro is deputy commander for the Navy’s undersea warfare program and commander for the research-focused Naval Undersea Warfare Center.
There will be demonstrations by Navy divers and explosive disposal teams, Navy Band performances, and interactive displays encouraging students to enter science, technology, engineering or math fields. The Navy’s elite parachute team, the Leap Frogs, is expected to descend on the University of Utah football game next week. And there is a new virtual reality experience the Navy will show off at the fair, where attendees, using a virtual reality headset, go on various missions, including one extracting Navy SEALS from enemy territory.
The annual series of events is helpful with recruitment — including the Navy hitting its goals for about 100 straight months, DelToro said. The Navy last came to Salt Lake City in 2015.
DelToro, an Indiana native, took a circuitous path to the U., where he graduated in 1987 with a mechanical engineering degree. He enlisted in the Navy after graduating high school and ended up in eastern Idaho, where he worked in the Navy’s nuclear power program at what today is known as the Idaho National Laboratory desert site. He met his wife, who was attending Idaho State University in Pocatello, and they eventually moved to Utah.
Now, DelToro is based in Washington, D.C., where he oversees the Navy’s in-service submarine fleet. The other side of his job is leading the Naval Undersea Warfare Center — which includes about 7,500 civilian engineers and scientists working to develop next-generation underwater warships and other weapons.
The most exciting research developments lately, DelToro said, involve unmanned systems — underwater vehicles that can exit a submarine and be controlled from afar, for example. Or an aerial drone that can be launched from a submarine, rise to the surface, then rise into the air on its own, equipped with cameras and other sensors.
This week, Deltoro will meet with university leaders, Mayor Jackie Biskupski and other state officials to discuss various Navy issues. More details and a calendar of public events can be found at outreach.navy.mil/Navy-Weeks.