NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors, Marines, and civilians from Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic and 23 of its subordinate commands and units came together for the Surface Line Week (SLW) 2014 closing ceremonies and awards presentation, May 16.
Following a four-year hiatus, SLW returned to Norfolk with a week-long series of competitions in which participants tested their professional and athletic skills.
The anticipation of the announcement of the winners of SLW was palpable as the chanting, cheering, and a bit of smack talking punctuated the ceremony.
"This is something special," said Force Master Chief Suz Whitman of Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic. "The camaraderie and the atmosphere in this room are abuzz. There's something special going on, and I know you're feeling it."
SLW opened May 12 with a two-mile Fun Run at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek. While competition was fierce from the start, the spirit of camaraderie was strong.
"In what we do, in the profession of arms, it's all about picking each other up, running side by side, and just showing that esprit de corps," said Rear Adm. Pete Gumataotao, commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic. "And that's why it's very important you are out here representing your command, representing the Navy, representing the Marine Corps. It's one team, one fight."
The professional-skills competitions included a Corpsman Relay, Seamanship Olympics, Damage Control Olympics, Search and Rescue Relay, and a .50 caliber gun shoot. The events were designed to allow Sailors an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in common shipboard evolutions while earning professional pride in a competitive environment.
"They see the way we train aboard USS Gravely (DDG 107) really works," said Command Master Chief Neal Olds. "They came back from these events saying: 'We do it so much better than the other ships! We really kicked butt!'"
Probably one of the most coveted awards of the SLW 2014 was in the Damage Control Olympics. During the event, teams completed a knowledge test; ladder, P-100 pump, and desmoking relays; pipe-patching; and a firefighting ensemble dress-out race.
"On Anzio, we take tremendous pride in damage control," said Damage Controlman 1st Class Tracy Thatcher from USS Anzio (CG 68). "We were excited to show the waterfront that we are the best!"