NAVAL STATION NORFOLK (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) celebrated the holiday season with a party at a hotel in Portsmouth, Va., Dec. 16.
This was the first time Truman Sailors were able to go out for the occasion since 2003, as the majority of the ship's Sailors spent the 2004 holiday season overseas in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Truman Sailors came out in masses to celebrate the season.
"I thought it was a great time for the command to get together and celebrate the holiday season," said Truman Chaplain Lt. Leroy Mack. "It was a well deserved period of rest and relaxation after the deployment, Katrina relief efforts and all of the little underways. I also loved the door prizes."
Dental Technician 3rd Class Sarah Bullard appreciated the effort put out by the Truman Holiday Party Committee to turn the event into a high-class party.
"I thought it was really fun," said Bullard. "The decorations were beautiful, the food was outstanding and everyone looked really great all dressed up."
Some crew members saw it as a chance to get to know their shipmates in an environment outside the confines of the ship.
"It was a well deserved break from the business of preparing for the shipyards," said Aviation Medical Technician Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (SW/AW) Jason Tavel. "I really enjoyed seeing everyone I worked with outside of the ship and in a whole new light"
The Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division aboard Truman made sure the good times came at little expense to the Sailor. Included in the small ticket price, Sailors were able to enjoy almost everything for free at the party, including some of the drinks, and all food and souvenirs.
"When everything was added up, the party probably cost around $80 per person," said Truman's "Fun Boss," L.A. Roberson. "When we factored in the menu, beverages, souvenir glasses and entertainment, things really started to add up. MWR covered approximately $100,000 of the party, which allowed us to drop ticket prices dramatically."
Roberson spent countless hours over the last year planning the event. She made sure everything from the buffet to the door prizes went off without a hitch.
"I booked the hotel in January and the holiday party committee was formed in July. That's when planning really took off," said Roberson. "There were so many details and decisions to make. Everything from the menu and beverages to entertainment and parking and, of course, the decorating and childcare. All in all, I think my favorite part of everything was the souvenir glasses. They are somewhat of a keepsake, and I think they turned out really great, too."
The season's celebration is far from over, as some Sailors are getting ready to spend the holidays with family and friends. For many, this is their first holiday season at home in the past two years.
As soon as the festivities wrap up and the ship finishes up the holiday leave period, Truman Sailors will prepare to move the ship into Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth in early January, where they will spend the next 10 months completing a maintenance availability.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.