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Wasp Finishes First in Surface Line Week Competition

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080627-04
Release Date: 6/27/2008 2:34:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Andrew McCord, USS Wasp Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS Wasp (LHD 1) won first place at the annual fleet-wide Surface Line Week competition at Naval Operations Base Norfolk, June 13-20.

"We use the phrase 'No. 1 Ship in the Fleet' a lot on Wasp, and this week our Sailors proved once again that it's true," said Wasp Commanding Officer Capt. Dan Fillion. "The Wasp crew went out and gave a varsity performance during the week and earned the right to walk with their chests out and heads high."

Surface Line Week invites ship and shore-based Sailors to compete in athletic and professional events, promoting camaraderie among the ranks.

Commands fielded several highly-motivated teams and worked hard to claim the number one spot during the week-long competition. Featured events included basic seamanship and quartermaster skills, marksmanship, a chili cook-off and cake decorating. Athletic events included golfing, tug-o'-war, softball and basketball tournaments.

Event participation was voluntary, but Wasp had so many volunteers, they turned people away.

"Surface Line Week represents the fighting spirit of the Navy, and it gives each ship a chance to show off their professional skills and the teamwork of each individual ship," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Kimberly Bliefernich, Wasp assistant Surface Line Week coordinator.

"Winning this competition was uplifting for all Wasp Sailors. We've had such a high operational tempo over the past two years, and these guys needed and deserved this win."

A "can-do spirit" and talent are ingredients for a winning team – and Wasp had plenty of both.

"We're lucky in that Wasp has a lot of talent – a lot a diverse talent," said Navy Counselor 1st Class Eddie Wilkinson, who helped the ship's basketball team earn a first-place finish. "It's one thing to field a team just to participate in the event, but it's a completely different thing to field a team you have confidence in. We went into this competition knowing each other's abilities and trusting that those would be what were needed to win."

Wasp crew members relied on teamwork to succeed.

"Our Wasp Sailors left everything on the field – they gave 100 percent every time at every event. There wasn't a single instance where they weren't motivating each other, applauding their successes and working through their mistakes," said Ensign Michael Bubulka, Wasp Surface Line Week coordinator. "That's what Surface Line Week is all about, bringing crews together and showcasing their camaraderie in a non-shipboard environment."

Wasp trailed USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) going into the last day but pulled ahead with first-place finishes in the tug-o'-war and cake decorating contests for the "Large Command" category.

Wasp also earned top honors in the racquetball competition, and the ship finished second in culinary skills competition, the damage control marathon, medical diagnosis and stretcher race, small arms, bowling and overall physical excellence.

For more news from USS Wasp, visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd1/.

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