As the group of approximately 80 Sailors and Marines were divided into groups of six and loaded into a four-wheel drive vehicle you could feel the mix of anticipation and uncertainty. It was just a few hours after pulling into port and these members of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group were already embarking on the exciting Sunset Safari Tour provided by the Nimitz Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department and the United Service Organizations (USO) during a United Arab Emirates port call Sept. 26.
It wasn’t long after loading into the vehicles and traveling into the desert region of Abu Dhabi that the eagerness to start enjoying their well-deserved time off was replaced with the sounds of the crew having fun. Laughter and gasps filled the vehicle as the tour guide spun and slid the automobile sideways. Through the sand and over the hills the vehicle careened before coming to a stop at the camp where dinner and entertainment was provided.
“The Sunset Safari Tour was so much fun,” said Culinary Specialist Seaman Briana Agliamgaro, from Honolulu. “Seeing the camels in the desert was so cool and the show they put on with their traditional dancing was really neat too, I had a blast!”
After approximately a month at sea a little fun is exactly what the crew of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group was looking for and thanks to the multiple tours hosted by MWR and the USO that is exactly what they got during their four-day visit to the area.
“I had a great time seeing all the different things Dubai had to offer,” said Agliamgaro. “From malls and cool restaurants, to sand-boarding in the middle of the desert, there were so many fun activities to keep us all entertained.”
During sightseeing tours, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Sailors and Marines were able to visit many areas of neighboring Dubai including both the older traditional parts of the city as well as the new exciting modern marvels. Such locations included sights like the tallest building in the world and one of the world’s largest malls.
When Sailors and Marines weren’t out-and-about enjoying their time off in Dubai, many were able to find fun right in front of the ship thanks to the services and entertainment provided on the pier by the USO. These services included many restaurants, shops, gaming centers, as well as live bands and Wi-Fi for the crew to be able to get in contact with family and friends back home.
“The shops and restaurants on the pier, in addition to all the tours offered, made my time here in Dubai really enjoyable,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Adam Shelkey, from Norfolk, Virginia. “I really appreciate MWR and the USO for coordinating it all for us.”
Nimitz departed the port of Jebel Ali, Sept. 30, and is back underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. While in this region, the ship and strike group are conducting maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation, and maintain the free flow of commerce.