Six MWR Sailors Bring Entertainment, Fun to Truman Crew

Story Number: NNS090828-20Release Date: 8/28/2009 2:58:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jared Hall, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office has been working diligently to keep Truman Sailors entertained and having fun.

Truman's MWR currently consists of five Sailors who are in charge of a wide range of entertainment activities, including shipboard events, ticket sales, movie rentals, the upkeep of the ship's gyms and activities on shore.

The Sailors in MWR are on temporary assigned duty (TAD) from departments throughout the ship. They come from distinct working backgrounds and must adjust to work in an office that requires a variety of skill sets.

"We learn how to do everything. We're like a jack-of-all-trades," said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class (AW/SW) William Hinson, who is TAD to MWR from Truman's Weapons Department. "You pretty much have to know how to fix something, break something, put it back together, clean something, paint something and chip something."

One of the MWR team's primary responsibilities is maintaining the ship's gyms. MWR Sailors clean and fix equipment, organize weights and upkeep the general cleanliness of the spaces.

"That's one of the things MWR is known for on the boat. We maintain the gyms. The gyms are ours," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate [Handling] Airman Ellen Crooks, who is TAD to MWR from Truman's Air Department. "Sometimes it can be physically demanding, but we have people there to give us a hand when we need it."

The MWR staff said their job in the gyms is sometimes made more difficult by Sailors not cleaning up after themselves. Crooks said it is irritating to find 100-pound dumbbells on the deck and off of the dumbbell rack. Hinson added that he hopes people will be more diligent about wiping down equipment after they use it.

Hinson, along with fellow MWR members, recently learned how to install electronic parts on treadmills. The circuit boards were damaged by humidity, and MWR was responsible for replacing those parts. Hinson, who had no previous experience repairing electronics, said he can now install a circuit board with his eyes closed.

Crooks said the MWR staff is working especially hard right now to prepare for an upcoming inventory inspection of MWR supplies. Because of the extra preparation and the absence of Truman's Fun Boss, Crook said Sailors shouldn't expect to see as many of the typical underway events like karaoke nights and card tournaments during the upcoming underway.

Keeping an accurate account of MWR's equipment and supplies is a large task, as the office has items stored throughout the ship. Hinson said he couldn't believe all the interesting items MWR owns, such as full-body sumo wrestling suits, paint ball equipment and many bags of softball equipment.

"Everything has to be logistically kept up with because if we lose something, we're responsible," said Hinson. "We have a lot of stuff to do."

Despite preparing for an inventory inspection on top of their typical duties, the MWR staff manages to work together to get the job done, taking advantage of their shipmates' knowledge and talents.

"It's a tight-knit group. Everybody knows what everybody's doing, so you're not running around like a chicken with your head cut off," Crooks said. "If you need help or you have a question, all you have to do is ask the person next to you."

Though the job can be difficult at times, Hinson said it is enjoyable. MWR works hard to support Truman's Sailors and provide the crew the entertainment.

"It's not all fun and games like everyone is saying," Hinson said. "We do a lot of stuff that people don't see, but I don't think that any of us here would ask to do a different job."

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