GULF OF ADEN (Nov. 27, 2014) – Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) participated in the “Turkey Trot 5K” fun run on the flight deck, Nov. 27.
The ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) team hosted the event on Thanksgiving as a way to bring everyone together while the ship is deployed over the holidays.
“The purpose of these runs is to promote fitness and comradeship,” said Kristen Venoy, the ship’s Fun Boss. “They like to do the runs because of the group camaraderie.”
With many of the Makin Island service members away from their families over the holidays for the first time, the ship’s MWR team works hard to balance home and work inside the lifelines.
“The significance of the holidays is to remind them of the bigger picture,” said Venoy. “We’re out here on a mission, but it doesn’t mean we can’t stop to take time to celebrate. We are each other’s family right now so we want to keep each other motivated, boost morale and have fun pictures to share with loved ones at home so they know we are alright out here.”
“Having these events over the holidays is very important because even though we may be deployed we can still do things that bring us closer to home, and these events give our minds and bodies a break from the hard work that everyone does on the ship,” added Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Robert Park.
Despite the overcast day, the temperature still blanketed the flight deck with plenty of humidity. The MWR volunteers were ready to help their fellow shipmates with plenty of water and orange slices as they crossed the finish line.
“It’s fitness, fun and a time to relax with our friends and cheer each other on,” said Venoy. “Especially on Thanksgiving, it allows us to burn some calories before we take in a whole lot more.”
“We don’t have our families here with us, so it’s great to have our friends around to spend Thanksgiving with us,” said Sgt. Donna Klunder, attached to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
MWR plans to continue holding 5K runs for the crew each month for the remainder of deployment including themed runs for Christmas, New Year’s and a final event to wrap up the deployment on the way home.
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.