USS PORT ROYAL, At Sea - Sailors aboard guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) celebrated Christmas in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
While being far from home at the holidays can be difficult, the crew members kept their holiday spirit and remained focused on their mission.
"It was an experience I don't think I'll ever forget. It was hard at first, but that'll just make me stronger," said Quartermaster 3rd Class Brian Myles, referring to being away from home at Christmas. "The gifting and activities provided by MWR [Morale, Welfare and Recreation] made it better. Without the food, caroling, and cookie competition it would have been a lot harder to deal with."
On Christmas Eve the cooks served a traditional holiday feast of turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, pies, candy and cakes, and on Christmas the crew ate steak and lobster.
"The food was great, and they went to a lot of work to make it feel like we weren't so far away from home," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Kwamitse Hodouto. "The command did a great job of helping make [the holiday] enjoyable."
Commanding Officer Capt. Eric Weilenman spoke to the crew at the conclusion of the Christmas Day feast.
"This crew has performed superbly throughout deployment and established a sterling reputation for operational excellence," said Weilenman. "Being underway for Christmas brought our Sailors even closer together as a team. Everyone -- from the culinary specialists and food service assistants in the galley crew, to the MWR committee, to shipmates taking care of shipmates -- made this deployed Christmas a memorable one indeed."
Port Royal is assigned to Combined Task Force (CTF) 152, which coordinates theater security cooperation activities with regional partners and conducts maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.