PCU Independence Sailors Honored at Armed Forces Day Luncheon

LTj.g. Philip Garrow, LCS 2 BLUE PAO

MOBILE, Ala. - Sailors from the Blue and Gold crews of PCU Independence (LCS 2) enjoyed fine food and camaraderie with local citizens at the 22nd Annual Armed Forces Day Luncheon May 13 in Mobile, Ala.

Sponsored by the Mobile Chamber of Commerce, members of local Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard commands joined several veterans groups and multiple businesses for a celebration at the University of South Alabama’s Brookley Conference Center.

Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class (SW) Katrina Williams (Blue Crew) and Culinary Specialist 1st Class Alicia F. Russo (Gold Crew) received an Outstanding Service Award in honor of their extensive involvement in several community service projects. Williams is a frequent volunteer at a local nursing home, and Russo was instrumental in organizing a packing drive at a local charitable food pantry.

Sailors of the Year, Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW) Jon Antrim (Blue Crew) and Engineman 1st Class (SW) Todd Hosselkus (Gold Crew) were presented with the prestigious J. L. Abbot Award and also received gift bags containing commemorative watches.

According to Mobile Navy League President retired Capt. Dick Pennington, this is the first tie for J.L. Abbot Award in its 20 year history.

“Mobile has been blessed to have this outstanding crew in preparation for the Commissioning of the newest class of naval warships, and our members have been privileged to meet them during various functions,” said Pennington. “I know that the Navy very carefully selected the men and women for assignment to this ship, but even as a former member of the military, I have never before witnessed the level of teamwork displayed by this outstanding group of young people!”

The award is named in honor of J. Lloyd Abbot, Sr., a United States Naval Academy graduate who served during World War I. He was a driving force behind the creation of the Mobile Navy League Council; many of his descendants remain involved in that organization to this day. His son, retired Rear Adm. J.L. Abbot Jr. was on hand to present the award along with the keynote speaker, Maj. Gen. Michael Sumrall of the Alabama National Guard.

“Independence Sailors continue to distinguish themselves through their genuine leadership, exceptional performance and commitment to community service,” said Blue Crew Commanding Officer Cmdr. Curt Renshaw. “I am also grateful to the citizens of Mobile, who have astonished us time and again with their generosity, attention and courtesy. We are proud to partner with them to usher in the next generation of naval warships.”