Makin Island Takes Top Honor at Local Surface Line Competition

Heather Hines
Monday, February 12, 2007
Crewmembers from Pre-Commissioning Units (PCU) Makin Island (LHD 8) and Mesa Verde (LPD 19) wrapped up the first Pascagoula Surface Line Week (SLW) competition on Feb. 9.

This week of events matched the two amphibious ships against each other for the honor of ‘Top Gator’ in events, which were divided into two categories, professional and athletic. In the professional events, participants competed in Cable Building with Soldering, Combat Systems Operational Sequence System/ Engineering Operational Sequence System (CSOSS/EOSS), a Damage Control (DC) marathon, Damage Control and Rules of the Road exams, a Chili Cook-off, and General Ship Safety. The athletic events included basketball, bowling, flag football, golf, Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) water balloons, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball, a 5K fun run, and a PRT competition to test Sailors on push-ups, sit-ups and the one-and-a-half-mile run.

A more creative way of thinking went into the planning of the events, due to both ships not being in a heavily fleet concentrated area. For example, tennis and basketball were played in the Mississippi Gulf Community College gym, with bowling taking place at the Spanish Trail Lanes, both in the city of Gautier, Miss. The Golf competition was played on the Mississippi National Golf Course.

The fact that both ships are currently under construction in Pascagoula, Miss. did not hinder the turnout, according to the SLW Coordinator, Lt. Tony Tharpe.

“The event coordinators did a terrific job finding resources and scheduling events in which we could compete,” Tharpe said. “With our ship due to deliver to the fleet in May 2008 and Mesa Verde in summer 2007, the production and training schedules are really hectic at this time. I feel this (SLW) was a good way for the Sailors to exhibit their talents in a competitive way while having fun and taking a little of the edge off.”

Capt. Bob Kopas, Commanding Officer PCU Makin Island (LHD 8), presented the first place award to the winning command, Team Makin Island.

“It gives me great honor to present this award to Team Makin Island for an outstanding job this week in the surface line competition,” Kopas said. “This (award) epitomizes the professionalism, camaraderie, and competitive spirit of both ship’s crewmembers. Additionally, this competition has helped us refine our skills for our main missions – bringing Makin Island and Mesa Verde successfully to life.”

The winners for the individual categories were as follows:
Professional Event/Exams
General Ship Safety FC1(SW/AW) Shawn Loescher, Makin Island
Cable Building/ Soldering IT1 Shawn Brody, Mesa Verde
Chili Cook-off Lt. Paul Oden, Makin Island
CSOSS/EOSS FC2(SW) Robert Brown, Makin Island
DC Marathon Mesa Verde
Maneuvering Boards Makin Island
Rules of the Road ENS Matt Buhn, Makin Island
Damage Control Test Lt. Paul Colston, Makin Island

Athletic Events
5K Run EM2 Justin Carp, Mesa Verde
Basketball Mesa Verde
Bowling Mesa Verde
Golf Makin Island
Football Mesa Verde
PRT Mesa Verde
Soccer Makin Island
Softball Makin Island
Tennis Lt. Fred Crawford, Makin Island
Tricycle Race Makin Island
NSFS Water Balloons Makin Island
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