After two weeks packed full with rigorous competition, the 37th Surface Line Week 2018 came to a close today, Aug. 17. Surface Line Week (SLW) Pacific is an annual event during which members of the Surface Navy, including Sailors, Marines, Department of the Navy civilians, and federal employees, can connect and participate in a myriad of different professional and athletic events. The competition drew participants from almost 30 commands in the San Diego area to compete in over 30 events.
This year also carried a deep military significance: the centennial celebration of the United States victory in World War I. To honor this important anniversary, this year’s SLW theme was “Celebrating 100 years of Sea Supremacy” since our very own ships played a pivotal role in securing an Allied victory back in 1918.
The competition included professional skills challenges such as welding, shiphandling, valve packing, marksmanship, and various culinary competitions, while the athletic events included softball, volleyball, powerlifting, crossfit events, a 5K race, and much more. Events such as these are essential to the morale of each individual command, but also to the Surface Warfare community overall.
The athletic events provided healthy competition and a chance for all of the current and former athletes to show off their skills. The team sports helped build camaraderie among coworkers, while other athletic events allowed individuals to display their dedication to their fitness, an extremely important tenet of our Navy values.
The professional events delivered a public opportunity for competitors to showcase what they learned and perfected throughout their careers. For example, the Damage Control Olympics allowed Sailors to troubleshoot and fix a problem, such as a hole in a pipe, in an efficient and timely manner. In the context of the competition, no lives were in danger; however, the skills put to the test in this event preserve and enhance the crew’s ability to carry out their mission and save their fellow crew members’ lives.
“This is a very special event. 30 ships across 40 something events is a pretty spectacular competition,” said Capt. Chris Engdahl, Chief of Staff, Naval Surface Force Pacific. “You get professional, tactical, and training-wise better and better, and are surrounded by folks who have met milestones that we all want to meet and want to achieve.”
SLW allows all Surface Warriors across the San Diego waterfront an opportunity to compete with their current shipmates, against former shipmates. It also gives the entire community a chance to come together and celebrate all of their diligent and dedicated work over the preceding year.
“We are here to close out two weeks of hard fought competition, sports events, professional development events, and just to build camaraderie amongst different commands and personnel. We are celebrating some of the awards today,” said Yeoman First Class Darrell Lamber, the Master of Ceremonies at the awards ceremony today.
Some of the more unique events included a cake decorating competition and a Navy heritage tattoo competition. The cake decorating competition was open to anyone, including those not within the Culinary Specialist rate; however, rules mandated that the cake had to be baked and decorated within the command’s very own galley. All cakes were encouraged to reflect Navy colors and Navy pride themes.
The tattoo competition was for those who had already formalized their Navy pride by way of permanent ink. Sailors were not encouraged to go out and add any tattoos to their bodies. Acceptable entries included any tattoos of Navy style anchors, King Neptune, ships, pigs, roosters, or nautical stars with the intent of upholding the longstanding tradition of nautical tattoos that is part of our Navy’s heritage and identity.
These two weeks of competition brought out the Navy pride and spirit in all of the competitors and their supporters. All commands gave a valiant effort in this year’s competition. To see photos, videos, and a list of the individual winners, head over to the Surface Line Week Facebook page. Overall winners will be announced next week at the Surface Warfare Ball.
Great job to all who participated and we look forward to next year’s event!