By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Carla Ocampo, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
SAN DIEGO - Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) invited the local community to its second annual Navy Holiday Lights Open House, Dec. 14.
NBSD opened its gates to allow both military and civilian traffic to drive along the base's waterfront to view ships decorated and lit with holiday lights.
Attendees experienced entertainment provided by the Navy Band Southwest and received the opportunity to tour USS Preble (DDG 88), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), and USS Spruance (DDG 111), and meet Sailors from various Navy commands.
"We have always had a holiday lights competition at NBSD, but this is the second year where we opened our base for the public to enjoy," said NBSD Commanding Officer Capt. Winton Smith. "San Diego is a Navy hometown, so if you think about the community service that has been provided to our military, this is one thing we can do in exchange and show off the American people's Navy."
All ships along the tour route also participated in a decorating contest and were evaluated on creativity, degree of difficulty, holiday spirit, use of 'green' decorations and best in show. Prizes were awarded to the winners and runner ups in each category.
Amphibious Assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) was the overall winner of the contest and recieving best in show.
Other category winners include: USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) for holiday spirit, USS Spruance (DDG 111) for creativity, USS Essex (LHD 2) for degree of difficulty, and USS Curts (FFG 38) for the 'green' category.
"I didn't expect the ships to be so decorated," said Beng McCurlie. "To me it's just something extra Sailors do for us and I am thankful. It's always nice to have the opportunity to see our military, especially like this."
Naval Base San Diego is the principal homeport for the Pacific Fleet, consisting of 56 Navy ships, two Coast Guard cutters, Military Sealift Command logistical support platforms, several research and auxiliary vessels, and the Navy's most advanced 21st century fleet platform known as the Littoral Combat Ship. There are more than 180 individual commands, each having a specific and specialized fleet support purpose.