U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (Sept. 20, 2017) — The Chiefs Mess and Afloat Recreation Program (AFP) committee, formerly known as Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), teamed up with the Junior Enlisted Association aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) to host a steel beach picnic for the crew on the ship’s flight deck, Sept. 16.
Steel beach picnics are a staple during long stretches at sea and help keep morale high during a deployment. The combined effort from all the organizations resulted in pulling out all the stops for the crew, offering a wide selection of activities for Sailors and Marines to enjoy.
Various recreational activities from the day included pick-up basketball games, to kicking around a soccer ball, to fishing off the stern of the ship. There were also two pools set up on the flight deck to offer Sailors and Marines the opportunity to get a little sun and unwind.
The preparation work for the event began early. The side dishes were prepared by chiefs in the ship’s galley early in the day and they manned the grills on the ship’s flight deck throughout the picnic.
“This was a great event to boost morale and even better, a chance for us to relax,” said Chief Hull Technician (SW) Nick Siemens, who assisted with grilling burgers during the event. “I enjoyed helping out and keeping the crew fed during the event. It was all worth it seeing how happy and relaxed everyone was.”
While much of the crew teamed up to play several bouts of casual sports, those looking to enjoy a
lazy afternoon weren’t disappointed with the chance to cool off in the refreshing pools set up.
“It was so refreshing compared to how hot it’s been,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Caitlin Mccoy, who
joined her fellow Marines in one of the pools in efforts to beat the heat.
“I was definitely looking forward
to jumping in when I heard there were pools set up for us.”
For those who enjoy relaxing in the shade, the catwalks in the stern of the ship were offered as
prime fishing real estate, with the ship slowing to allow yielding casts.
“Deployments are not always easy, but there are moments that just can't be recreated in any other
environment,” said Lt. Kenneth Orsburn, a chaplain aboard Pearl Harbor. “There are few people who get
to relax after hard week’s worth of work and fish from a warship in the Gulf of Aden. Days like these go
a long way toward building camaraderie and resilience at sea.”
Throughout the event, MWR was able to raise money for future events by auctioning off the
opportunity to “pie” a few select leaders.
“These events are so important to the morale and welfare of the crew; taking a pie to the face was
the least I could do to support our junior Sailors,” said Ens. Barret Goman, who raised more than $100 for
the AFP by taking a pie to the face.
The event concluded with the sun setting on the horizon, leaving relaxed Sailors and Marines
slowing lingering off the flight deck.
“It was a great way for the crew to let off a little steam, relax, enjoy the company of their
shipmates and at the same time, raise money for future events,” said Goman. “They did such a fantastic
job organizing and setting up a fun steel beach picnic.”
Pearl Harbor is part of the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and, with the embarked
15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of
maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, and preserve the freedom of navigation and
the free flow of commerce in the region.
The ARG and 15th MEU provide senior U.S. military leadership and partners with a flexible
force which can rapidly respond to contingencies and crises within a region. With ships, aircraft, troops,
and logistical equipment, the ARG/MEU is a self-contained and self-sustained task force capable of
conducting a wide range of military operations including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
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