USS TORTUGA, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Tortuga (LSD 46) Sailors and embarked elements from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) competed in the first speed bag competition while underway April 9.
"[Hitting the] speed bag is a great workout and a good way to stay in shape," said Tortuga Commanding Officer Cmdr. Todd A. Lewis. "I am pleased to see so many Sailors and Marines attempting the speed bag and using it as a workout."
The contest was held on Tortuga's turntable and had a number of Sailors and Marines competing in the contest. The contest comprised of two categories -- freestyle and continuous. The continuous competition was a test of who could go the longest on the speed bag without loosing rhythm. Freestyle competition measured who had the best and most creative form while hitting the bag.
Prizes such as autographed photos, books and "how to" DVDs donated to Tortuga by world-renowned speed bag artist Alan Khan were awarded to the top three competitors. Lewis has made a point to showcase the speed bag as a viable workout and Khan, a friend of Lewis, has reciprocated with positive words for the Tortuga crew.
"Cmdr. Lewis motivates all the Sailors aboard ship and encourages all members of 'Team Tortuga' to train with the speed bag," says Kahn on his Web site. "I fully support and admire Cmdr. Lewis and the entire crew of his ship, along with all members of the United States armed forces."
Although there was plenty of speed bag talent featured for the competition, there was only room for one winner of each category. The MEU's Cpl. Alex Jones showed how it was done and took home the male speed bag championship for being able to continuously hit the speed bag for 1 minute, 55 seconds. Seaman Andrew C. Jones won the male freestyle championship with his unique style and flair.
"I use the speed bag as an upper body workout often," said Jones. "I am glad I won the DVD because I plan on improving my speed bag skills."
Engineman 3rd Class (SW) Tiffany M. Bailey took home the crown as Tortuga's female speed bag and freestyle champion.
"I had a great time in the competition," said Bailey. "I never knew hitting a speed bag could be so much fun while getting such a workout."
Tortuga's installation of the speed bag and other boxing equipment, in addition to other exercise equipment already present, has helped Team Tortuga to stay physically fit and healthy and have fun too.
"I am very pleased with the amount of support from the crew we received," said Morale, Welfare and Recreation representative training officer Kate E. Capaldo. "All the competitors did an outstanding job and showed great athleticism."
Tortuga (LSD 46) is a dock landing ship serving under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force. ESG 7/Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.
For more news from Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet visit www.news.navy.mil/local/ctf76/.