USS PELELIU, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) have been able to keep up with major league baseball back in their homeport of San Diego for the past few months thanks to the "Padres at Sea" program.
The program, which started in 1997 and is sponsored by the San Diego Padres and Navy Federal Credit Union, provides free VHS recordings of Padres baseball games that are then mailed to ships and units currently on deployment. Aboard Peleliu, the tapes are then broadcast on the Shipboard Information, Training and Entertainment (SITE) television system for viewing.
According to Jack Ensch, a retired Navy captain and director of military marketing for the Padres, the goal of the program is to reach out to San Diego-based military units who are deployed around the world and provide a connection to their homeport by helping boost morale.
"We feel it is important to support the military because they and their families make many sacrifices in their service to our county," said Ensch. "The military is an integral part of the very fabric of the San Diego community."
Ensch said other San Diego-area military units who are deploying can contact the Padres to get the program started.
"As the only MLB team located in the city with the largest concentration of military in the entire world, we feel that it is important to support the military and help in whatever way we can to try to improve the quality of life for those who are serving our nation today under strenuous conditions," added Ensch.
For many Sailors, watching their favorite baseball team in action is something they didn't expect to be able to do during deployment.
"I love baseball and I think it's cool that the Peleliu offers it to the ship's crew," said Ship's Serviceman Seaman Phillip Tillett, a native of Ft. Pierce, Fla., who has been a baseball fan since high school. "Thank you to the San Diego Padres for the pleasure of their games."
Marines embarked aboard Peleliu also said they enjoy watching the games.
"I think it's really nice, it's a cool gesture," said Sgt. T.J. Sjostrom, a native of Olympia, Wash. "It's a break from the grind. Even though I'm a Mariners fan by birth, I still enjoy Padres games. I watch them every day when I'm at home."
Peleliu is the flag ship of the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit which is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to conduct maritime security operations. (MSO).
MSO help develop security in the maritime environment, which promotes stability and global prosperity. These operations complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
For more news from USS Peleliu - Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha5/.