PANAMA CITY, Panama – On the last day of guided missile frigate USS GARY’s (FFG-51) pre-holiday port visit, the ship held a 5K run on the causeway in a part of Panama City called Amador. The event was made more challenging by the humidity and heat, but all the participants made it to the finish line. Taking the top three spots were Boatswain’s Mate Petty Officer Second Class Heath Gregory, Seaman Comna Douti, and Lieutenant Junior Grade Tara Lenn.
"It was really hot, but the view on the causeway more than made up for the heat. I hadn’t been there before, so it was nice to find a new place to run. It was also nice to get off the treadmill and run on solid ground," said third place finisher and helicopter pilot, Miss Tara Lenn.
The causeway was created by connecting the mainland to Amador Island with fill dirt from the Panama Canal. When it was constructed, it was done by building a temporary railway bridge to the island and dumping the fill from the train cars to turn the island into a peninsula.
The run was just one of the many fitness-related options made available to the crew while on its Fourth Fleet Deployment in support of Operation Martillo; others have included Iron Man and weight-lifting competitions, along with Community Relations Projects in both Costa Rica and Panama.
"On GARY we have been promoting a culture of fitness and the 5K was one of many events that we have done with many more to come. We have been doing Insanity and P-90X and are planning an obstacle course challenge for our next port visit that will encompass both individual and team events. We are always looking to promote fitness and ensure our sailors are up to US NAVY PFA (Physical Fitness Assessment) standards," said Operations Specialist Chief Petty Officer Daniel Tedrick.
Gary is homeported in San Diego, and is currently deployed to Central and South America and the Caribbean in support of Operation Martillo and U.S. 4th Fleet's mission, Southern Seas 2012.
Operation Martillo (Spanish for "hammer") is a U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force South, a component of U.S. Southern Command.
Operation Martillo is part of the U.S. government's coordinated regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Security Initiative.
Fourteen countries are participating: Belize, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.