Christmas spirit was found on each deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) as it sailed to the end of another day at sea on Christmas day.
Although Sailors and Marines aboard Somerset weren’t able to be with their families and loved ones this holiday season, all were given the opportunity to celebrate and partake in various festivities on Christmas and during the month of December.
“Everyone has family, friends and loved ones that are used to seeing each other over this time of the year, but it’s different this year for us on Somerset,” said Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Christopher Higgins, the president of the MWR committee. “We are all separated from the people that we love and it can be hard for some to cope with. That’s why MWR is focused on one thing, to ensure that all the Sailors and Marines here are not forgotten.”
Starting the second week of December, decorations were put up through out the ship and each department began decorating their office doors for a decorating contest that would later be judged by Commanding Officer, Capt. Darren Glaser.
Other events held by the MWR committee included sugar cookie and card decorating, a “reindeer trot” marathon and Bingo with Santa.
“These events really help during deployment, especially on the holidays,” said Religious Program Specialist 3rd Class Dawaylon Farr. “It’s really easy to get down while away from family, so being able to get together, laugh and enjoy each other’s company really helps keep people’s spirits up.”
Sailors and Marines were also able to attend a Christmas Eve worship service held on the flight deck by Command Chaplain, Lt. Tim Miller and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Command Chaplain, Lt. Todd Delaney.
“Spiritual fitness is a significant part of maintaining health, wellbeing and mission readiness on deployment. To have an opportunity to pause, reflect on the presence of God and celebrate our faith together means the world to us when we are far from home.”
In addition to all the events held for Somerset’s service members, more than 1,160 beanies, knitted and donated by volunteers, were distributed among the crew and embarked Marines.
This holiday season may not have been just like home for Somerset Sailors and Marines, but a sense of family was present throughout the ship.
“Moments like this help us maintain our connection with traditions back home,” said Miller. “They help keep us focused on maintaining the integrity of our service to protect and defend the great freedoms we enjoy.”
Somerset is currently deployed with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
For more news from USS Somerset (LPD 25), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lpd25/.