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120822-N-UH865-150 SAN DIEGO - On board Naval Station San Diego at Admiral Prout Field House, seven Sailors from USS Essex (LHD 2) participate in a weight lifting contest for Surface Line Week 2012. Sailors from various commands showed up to participate in the bench press dead lift and squat contests. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Frank L. Andrews / RELEASED)
Essex wins largest command category of Surface Line Week 2012 
SAN DIEGO  – Uss Essex (LHD 2) celebrated its return to San Diego from Rim of the Pacific 2012 by winning first place in the large command category of Surface Line Week 2012, Aug. 24. San Diego's 31st annual Surface Line Week (SLW) began Aug. 16 with the commencement of the sailing competition and continued throughout the week.
Ship’s along the waterfront competed in numerous professional and athletic events such as stretcher bearing, damage control, volleyball, football, soccer, softball, racquetball, basketball, swimming, visual communications, lathe, welding and more.

The weightlifting completion saw a big turnout. With 25 Sailors competing, Essex won 2nd and 3rd place in the male category.

"Lifting weights in Surface Line Week is definitely a morale booster," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Steven Smith of USS Essex (LHD 2). "The whole event is a huge character building session. It's great for all the commands fleet wide to get together and engage in some friendly competition."
Essex dominated in this year’s events by winning first place in the large command category. Essex also won first place in overall performance for winning more competitions than any other command.
“Our commanding officer [Capt. Jonathan Harnden] and executive officer [Capt. Joker Jenkins] made it clear that they wanted us to have a big presence at Surface Line Week. That’s why we were able to do so well,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Nguyen To, Essex’s command Surface Line Week coordinator.
Essex received first place in the medical / stretcher bearer category for finishing with a record breaking time of 3:20.
“As a former independent duty corpsman and as a afloat training group corpsman, I place a lot of pride in training and professionalism,” said To. “We were able to win the first place title because our corpsman take pride in their training and are dedicated to their job. I want to thank Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Nathan Steward and Jacob Meers. They were in charge of the medical teams that won.”
Essex participated in more than 15 events and won first place in the valve packing, and ship handling competitions, second place in rescue swimmer, second place in the marksman individual pistol and third place in team pistol shoot.

The 10-day event was sponsored by Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. The events are dedicated to friendly competition in a variety of seamanship and sporting events. SLW concluded with an awards ceremony Aug. 24, followed by the annual Surface Warrior Ball Aug. 25.
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