NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Ship and shore commands in Norfolk ushered in the holiday season Dec. 15 with Decorama 2006, decking their halls and passageways for a chance to earn Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) gift certificates.
"The purpose [of Decorama] is to encourage teamwork and Christmas spirit and to bring the base together," said Capt. Lloyd Pyle, commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk and one of the Decorama 2006 judges.
"What catches our eye are the units that go above and beyond, just displaying their holiday spirit and just looking after the quality of life for Sailors and working on morale around here," Pyle added.
Pyle and area MWR representatives were joined as judges for the competition by retired Navy Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) Rudy Boesch and Naval Station Norfolk Sailor of the Year Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jason Schwartz.
"This is the second year I've done this," Boesch said. "Captain Pyle invited me again tonight and I'm glad he did. Anything for the military is okay with me."
For Schwartz, the chance to help judge the holiday display was a first.
"I've been here for a lot of years and I've seen the ships decorate but I've never seen them go to this extent, it's pretty cool," Schwartz said. "I'm looking for creativity, putting up the lights takes a lot of work, but I'm looking for creativity overall."
Naval Air Station Oceana Air Detachment Norfolk set up a series of lights that turned on and off in time with music.
"This took probably close to 50 man-hours," said Cmdr. Monty Yarger, commanding officer. "A lot of people volunteered to come in on their own time, purchase lights and spent a lot of their off duty hours setting this up."
Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Carr (FFG 52) ran green lights all along the outboard of the ship, sang for the judges, and set up a big screen television on the forecastle to play the movie "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
"We just spent two weeks underway and came back, making this our focus event to kick off our own holiday season this year," said Carr's commanding officer, Cmdr. George E. Lang. "The whole crew pulled together the last two days beautifully from officers and chiefs to enlisted. I think we have every green light from Yorktown out to Virginia Beach."
The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHA 5) was the overall Captain's Choice winner.
Other winners in individual categories included:
Sailor's Choice: Transient Personnel Unit
CVN/LHA/LHD: Amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1)
Cruiser: Guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60)
Destroyer: Guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez (DDG 66)
LPD/FFG: Guided-missile frigate Carr
Submarine: USS Hampton (SSN 767)
Shore Commands: Ground Electronics Maintenance Division.
All first place winners received a $500 gift certificate good for any MWR facility; second place winners received a $250 MWR gift certificate.
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