Three hundred and fifteen USS Russell (DDG 59) crew members and guests gathered on December 7 to celebrate their annual holiday party in San Diego’s Gaslamp District.
The evening began on the broad and elegantly lit veranda where the attendees mingled and reminisced about the events of the past year while enjoying the spectacular view of San Diego Harbor and historic downtown area. A large Russell crest, projected on an adjacent wall, testified to the crew’s pride in their accomplishments and their ship.
“The crest was awesome,” said Petty Officer Second Class Jesus Ceja. “It really made the venue and set the tone for the night.”
At the strike of the seven o’clock bell, dinner was called and the participants were directed through bay doors and into the ballroom. Before beginning the festivities, the crew and guests commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and offered a toast to the honor, courage, and commitment of the survivors and those lost on that fateful day in 1941.
Petty Officer Second Class Joshua Sison found the Pearl Harbor toast meaningful, “It was good that we took time to reflect and honor those who sacrificed so much in the defense of our nation,” he said. “Without the Sailors who fought bravely at Pearl Harbor, we might not be here today.”
Following the toasts, Russell’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Rich Robbins, spoke to the crew and congratulated them on their performances throughout the past year which included multiple highly successful fleet assessments and operations in the U.S. 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleets.
Following Robbins’ remarks, guests enjoyed a fine meal and festivities, including music and dancing, “I loved the music that they were playing, the Latin tracks that the DJ had on were the best for dancing,” said Petty Officer Third Class Ralph Craan.
Overall, Russell’s Holiday party proved to be an excellent opportunity for Sailors to spend time with loved ones, relive the best aspects of the past year, and give thanks to those Sailors past and present who gave, and continue to give so much to defend what we hold most dear.