HONOLULU - Sailors from various Navy commands in Hawaii gave rousing "shout outs" to friends and family members during a message recording at Cox Media Studio of ESPN 1420am radio in Honolulu, April 22.
The Sailors represented air, submarine and surface specialties and showcased regional diversity, as well, with hometowns from the East Coast to the West Coast and the nation's heartland.
Lt.j.g Salisha Labonte, of Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific; Electronics Technician 1st Class Matthew Eliason, assigned to Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Engineman 1st Class Albert Jones, of USS Halsey (DDG 97) and Yeoman 1st Class Loribelle Valdez, stationed with Patrol Squadron Four (VP4) at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe participated in the taping.
The recording was coordinated at the invitation of ESPN 1420am for Military Appreciation Month, which is held annually in the month of May.
During his recording, Eliason thanked his friends and family in Texas for "supporting me through multiple deployments in Western Pacific." Eliason also mentioned the families of those injured in the April 17 fire and explosion in West, Texas. "I know we're all praying for them," Eliason said.
He ended his message saying, "Thank you, America, for supporting the men and women in uniform and our families."
Jones, of Toledo,Ohio, recently completed a hull swap from USS Russell (DDG 59) to USS Halsey (DDG 97), which he noted is the "newest ship on the Pearl Harbor waterfront." He thanked his friends and family and gave a special "shout out" to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Labonte, of Virginia Beach, Va., said hello to her family as well as to the Sailors and Soldiers that are currently serving in Southeast Afghanistan. (Labonte recently returned from a tour as an Individual Augmentee from Afghanistan). Labonte ended her message saying, "It feels great to be back to the finest homeport in the Navy."
Last of the group was Valdez of San Jose, Calif., who also returned recently from a tour as an Individual Augmentee. Valdez said hello to her mom and sister, thanking them for their "support and love during my deployment in Afghanistan." Valdez mentioned being stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii with the VP-4 Skinny Dragons and said she is a huge 49ers fan. Valdez ended her message with a big "HOOYAH."
Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month in 1999 to ensure the nation was given the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their appreciation for the sacrifices and successes made by service members - past and present.
Each year the president makes a proclamation, reminding Americans of the important role the U.S. Armed Forces have played in the history and development of our country.