PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) hosted seven Major League Baseball players and their families Nov. 4 in support of United Through Reading (UTR).
New Egypt, New Jersey native Ens. Joseph Puza and Chief Personnel Specialist Eric Abrea of Oak Harbor, Washington hosted the tour on behalf of the ship.
"They got a chance to tour the boat deck where we keep our small boats and the flight deck and helicopter hangar bay where we conduct our flight operations at sea,” Puza said. “They also toured our training room and the forecastle which features our anchor and 5-inch gun mount. Finally, we took them to check out the VLS launching pads and mess decks, where the crew got a chance to meet the players.”
The MLB group also took time to read books as part of UTR for distribution to active duty service members' children while their parents are deployed.
UTR is a non-profit organization that unites military families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud. Service members before and during deployments read aloud several books which are then captured on video and sent to their children.
"My family and I are very grateful for the UTR program,” Abrea said. “It kept me connected with my children when I was in the desert during my IA tours and while I was on my first ship. My kids grew up with it. I am glad that UTR gave us the opportunity to create good memories even though I was always away from home."
The Puza said the duty section enjoyed meeting and greeting the players on the mess decks where they signed baseball memorabilia.
“The players and families that visited us were extremely appreciative and showed interest in the ship and everything that we do out at sea,” Puza said. “I know I can speak on behalf of the crew when I say that we were all appreciative of the players visiting and their genuine interest towards the ship and the crew. I would gladly give more tours in the future from my experience with them."
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