NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- During an awards ceremony May 10 on the aft mess decks aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) (CVN 69), the 2003 MWR Athletic Achievement award was presented to a handful of Ike Sailors who participated in MWR-sponsored athletics over the last year.
Naval Station Norfolk Commanding Officer Capt. Gerard Becker and Ike Commanding Officer Capt. Charles Smith addressed Ike's athletes, complementing them on their hard work and voicing appreciation to the crew for not allowing working across the bridge from Norfolk, in Newport News, to detract from building teamwork, camaraderie and athletic excellence.
"I'm here to salute you all for your achievement in sports," said Becker.
Ike Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Ronnie Moore added that winning this award shows just what his Sailors are capable of.
"It shows that Ike can come together as a team," Moore said with pride. "It shows that even when you are in the shipyard, you can still maintain athletic programs."
The ship was recognized because of the participation and the achievements of the Sailors aboard. Ike was represented on the football field, the basketball court, the softball diamond and the soccer field. Both men and women from many different rates and ranks came together as one body, and led Ike to the top of the list within the region. Because Ike placed so high in each sport across the board, the ship was recognized for its overall athletic excellence.
Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Timothy Russell participated in men's basketball and football, and coached women's football.
"You can still find time to have fun," Russell commented on the importance of athletics. "This (working at Northrop Grumman Newport News (NGNN) Shipbuilding) is an arduous environment, but you can still come together and compete."
The current environment in NGNN certainly made practice schedules difficult to organize, but Ike's athletes didn't allow those types of excuses to hold them back.
"I think this award means a lot because we had to overcome so many obstacles, and we had to overcome them together as a team," Russell said.
"That says a lot about this command," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Lattie Sinclair who played forward on the basketball team. "I guess you can't take ships in the yard for granted."
Russell added that this award should send a clear message to the rest of the fleet, particularly in Norfolk, that "CVN 69 is coming back."
This is the third consecutive year Ike Sailors have earned this award.
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69.