– Sailors assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) hosted two holiday parties for the ship’s crew and their families, Dec. 12 and Dec. 13.
The Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) committee organized a holiday party at the historic U.S. Grant Hotel located in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego on the evening of Dec. 12. Party goers dressed up for the event and enjoyed a festively decorated venue complete with a DJ, a catered three-course dinner, and a photo booth.
MWR spent six months planning the party which gave Sailors and their families a night to remember.
“There were so many decisions to make and details to consider… from the menu to beverages, parking to childcare, décor to entertainment. Without the help of several hard-working individuals, this party wouldn’t have been possible,” said Ensign Sarah Wood, the ship’s MWR coordinator.
New Orleans’ MWR used funds saved from a recent deployment on venue rental costs, catering, entertainment, and other support required to host such an event.
Every Sailor in attendance won one of the many door prizes at the event. Prizes included giftcards, theme park tickets, movie tickets, smart TVs, Xbox consoles, iPads, laptops, and a grand prize of an all-expenses paid Disneyland vacation.
In the end, New Orleans’ crew enjoyed the time spent with friends and family reflecting on what was a long and eventful year, having successfully completed an eight month deployment to the Arabian Gulf and an extensive planned maintenance availability at BAE Systems Shipyard.
“It was nice to see people outside of work, dressed up and enjoying themselves,” said Interior Communications Electrician 2ndClass Billie Jean Otian. “After working so hard during the yard period, it was a well deserved break for all of us,”
For the children of the Sailors, the ship’s First Class Association hosted a party at Mariner’s Park on board Naval Base San Diego, Dec. 13, where they enjoyed bounce houses, a magic show, Christmas gifts, face painting, and a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
“The highlight of the event was when Mrs. Claus was speaking to all of the children and Santa and his elves came down the stairs with Christmas gifts,” said Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 1st Class (SW/AW) Goeffrey Yap, the president of the First Class Association aboard New Orleans. “Seeing the smiles made all of the long hours of planning worth it.”
As soon as the festivities wrap up and the ship finishes up the holiday leave period, New Orleans Sailors will be making final preparations for light off assessment and sea trials.
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