Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs Receives Commemorative Mini Blue Jacket Recruit Statuette
The Central Florida Navy League (CFNL) presented Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs with a commemorative mini Blue Jacket Recruit statuette in honor of her support for military veterans and Orange County’s assistance in the creation of the Lone Sailor Memorial in 2016. The presentation took place on Oct. 24, 2018 at Blue Jacket Park alongside the life-sized Lone Sailor and Blue Jacket Recruit Statues.
“It is truly an honor to celebrate the installation of this heroic symbol of our nation’s brave female enlisted sailors, and also to receive the beautiful replica figurine,” Mayor Jacobs said. “For more than three decades, Orange County has had a rich history and deep connection to the U.S. Navy and was home to more than 652,000 graduating Navy recruits. The Blue Jacket Recruit statues ensure that every service man and woman serving our country today knows how much we appreciate their legacy of service and their commitment to our great country.”
The Blue Jacket Recruit symbolizes the importance of the former U.S. Navy Orlando Naval Training Center as the nation’s first co-ed training center for the Navy. Unveiled in April 2018, the statue was dedicated to the more than 188,000 women who graduated from the training center and stands next to the Lone Sailor Navy Memorial statue in Blue Jacket Park.
For over 30 years, this site served as the Orlando Naval Training Center and was home to thousands of service personnel known as Blue Jackets. In 2000, the City of Orlando designated 75 acres of this historic site as a public park to serve its citizens with a special place for reflection and physical renewal. Blue Jacket Park, now home to the Baldwin Park community, is also a popular site for baseball, soccer and softball.
Navy veteran and local craftsman, Don Reynolds, cast the Blue Jacket Recruit from bronze alloy. Reynolds also used brass from several retired U.S. Navy warships including the USS Lexington, Yorktown, Ranger, Independence, Oriskany, Constellation and Saratoga. The statue stands more than six feet tall and weighs 330 pounds.
According to the Navy League, the Blue Jacket Recruit depicts a young woman recruit dressed in blues, ready for her graduation day. Chosen by her shipmates for a position of leadership, she stands at a pose of attention, with her gaze fixed upon the area of the former training center parade grounds. The Blue Jacket Recruit has earned the position of Recruit Chief Petty Officer and has faithfully led her company up to this most important moment.
Photo Caption: [L-R] Navy Veteran and Artist/Sculptor of the Blue Jacket Recruit Bronze Statue J. Don Reynolds and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs join the Central Florida Navy League for a special presentation on Oct. 24, 2018. The Blue Jacket Recruit Statuette presented to Mayor Jacobs represents the more than 188,000 women who graduated from the U.S. Navy Orlando Naval Training Center.