ARABIAN GULF- Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) competed in a series of physically and mentally straining competitions to win the final Captain’s Cup of 2020. The ship is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th fleet area of operations.
The Captain’s Cup is a ship-wide competition hosted by the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) team. Each department onboard competes for points to determine which is the top team out of the six departments onboard ‘Super Sixty’: Engineering, Supply, Operations, Combat Systems, Weapons, or Plans and Tactics.
“This Captain’s Cup was the biggest turnout in the ship’s history,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Marc Johnson, from Dallas Texas, the MWR Vice President. “You could see the pure enjoyment of our Sailors as their teams battled for victory.”
Paul Hamilton has spent 235 of the previous 239 days at sea, leading the ship’s crew to find new ways to boost morale, practice teambuilding, and have fun. In the sweltering heat that averages above 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day in the Arabian Gulf, the ship’s departments went toe-to-toe with each other in competitions including water- balloon fights, capture the flag, trivia and video game competitions. The most junior Sailor could be found competing against Department Heads and Chief Petty Officers for the most vaunted prizes onboard: the Captain’s Cup Trophy and bragging rights.
“While competing alongside my Department Head and Leading Petty Officer, I noticed we became more than a team,” said Culinary Specialist Seaman Montrel Hutto, from Fayetteville, N.C. “It felt like we became a family.”
This is the third and final Captain’s Cup of 2020 aboard the Paul Hamilton. The winners of the first two editions were Engineering Department and Supply Department. The rivalry between all of the departments is intense, but the competition between the previous champions was extra heated as the final Captain’s Cup came down to the wire. The last event, a water balloon fight on the flight deck, gave Supply Department a narrow victory, their second of 2020.
On Aug. 29, 2020, an award ceremony was held on the mess decks of Paul Hamilton where Capt. Todd Whalen, Commodore of Destroyer Squadron Nine, presented the Captain’s Cup Trophy to Lt. Andrew Feeney, the ship’s Supply Officer.
"I am incredibly proud of the heroic effort put forth by the Supply Team to win unprecedented back-to-back Captain's Cups,” said Lt. Andrew Feeney, from Atlanta, Ga., the Supply Department head. “The battle was hard fought, but the entire team exhibited a level of grit that goes without comparison throughout Fifth Fleet. Our stellar cooks, retail specialists, and logisticians might spend most days providing five-star service with a smile in support of our shipmates, however like true Phantom Warriors, we struck fear into the hearts of all departments who considered standing in our path to ultimate domination. The taste of victory is sweet on the mess decks of USS Paul Hamilton."
The Paul Hamilton Captain’s Cup trophy is actually the old ships whistle, which was repurposed following repairs in 2019. Heavy and standing tall, thanks to the Engineering Department who hand crafted the trophy, there are plaques on the base of the trophy which honor previous champions. There is also room for those who strive for glory in the future and wish to etch their department’s name as champions.
“It was a real honor bringing my experience to an old naval tradition to a new generation of Sailors,” said Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class Cody A. Potts, from Victor, Iowa, the creator of the trophy. “Watching everyone get excited when holding the trophy and unifying a department brings something special to this command.”
Deployed to the U.S. 5th fleet area of operations, USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) is the 10th Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer. Read more about Paul Hamilton at www.facebook.com/usspaulhamilton