SAN DIEGO - The 33rd annual Surface Line Week (SLW) in San Diego came to an end with the presentation of overall awards during closing ceremonies at Naval Base San Diego Bay, Aug. 15.
Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Force and Commander, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, thanked all the commands who participated before handing out trophies and plaques the top three finishers in both individual and command categories.
“It amazes me how sports beings us all together,” said Rowden, who addressed the crowd before making the overall winner presentations. “The reality is that all of us here in the Naval Surface Force are one team.”
Rowden said that one of the most important parts of Surface Line Week is that it provides an opportunity for everyone to get to know one other.
“It’s good to take a step back every now and then and come together as a family; whether it’s decorating cakes or racing RHIBs [Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats] or playing flag football or on the sporting field,” said Rowden. “While we would all like to have peace break out all over the world for the rest of our lives, the reality of it is that is not always going to be the case.”
This year, USS Boxer (LHD 4) took first place in the overall large command category, with USS Essex (LHD 2) finishing in second place.
In the overall medium command category, USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) took first place, USS Russell (DDG 59) placed second, and USS Decatur (DDG 73) finished in third place.
For the overall award in the small command category, Beach Master Unit 1 captured first place honors, USS Scout (MCM 8) was awarded second place, and Tactical Air Control Squadron 12 finished in third place.
This year’s athletic events include a 5K run, basketball, billiards, bowling, dodge ball, flag football, golf, push-up/pull-up endurance, and cross fit. There was also a chili cook-off and a salsa cook-off on the final day of competition.
SLW professional events for 2014 included a damage control marathon, marksmanship, medical diagnosis/stretcher bearer race, moboards, photo competition, rescue swimmer, a RHIB race, sailing, seamanship, ship handling, visual communications and welding/cutting.
The final professional event of SLW 2014 was the cake decorating competition that took place just prior to the awards ceremony. Culinary Specialist 1st Class Brandon Alexander and Culinary Specialist Seaman Recruit Colby Jackson claimed first place honors for the amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans (LPD 18).
“I recently took a cake decorating course,” said Alexander, a 12-year Navy veteran and native of Oakland, California. “But cake decorating was something that I learned at my first command.”
Alexander said a total of five hours went in to decorating the cake for the SLW 2014 competition. He and Jackson said they used the base galley to prepare the cake since their ship is currently in a maintenance period.
“It took us quite a while to come up with a concept,” said Alexander. “But we saw a Blue Angels aircraft image, and we took that image and combined it with a cartoon theme and the Navy colors of blue and gold.”
For Jackson, who says he loves to cook, this was his first experience with a competition like SLW since he joined the Navy less than a year ago.
“It’s fun, it was a good turnout and everyone enjoyed participating in the competition,” said Jackson, who hails from Yuma, Arizona. “It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of long hours, but being a culinary specialist pays off if you love cooking.”
According to SLW 2014 coordinators, the event was well received in the San Diego area.
"This year’s Surface Line Week a big success with lots of participation in both the professional and sporting events," said Lt. Aimee Smith, this year’s event coordinator. "Plans are already in the works for next year’s competition and we hope that even more ships and shore command will participate."
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