News: Single sailors experience first Super Bowl Party overseas
Story by Joseph Schmitt
YOKOSUKA, Japan - Sailors assigned to local and visiting commands enjoyed their first Super Bowl party overseas at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Liberty Center in Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, Feb. 4. The party gave a taste of America even though the sailors were far from home.
“We opened early. We opened the doors at 7:30 to be ready for kickoff at 8:30,” said Cristina Neumann, MWR special events and Liberty Program manager. “We had the quarterback toss, Ray Lewis dance competition, we had the Hooters Girls and NFL cheerleaders come in, and we had a Hooters wings eating competition. We had breakfast during the first half, door prizes and all kinds of activities going on throughout the day.”
The center is specifically for single or unaccompanied sailors and this year, many of those at the center experienced a Super Bowl party overseas and away from home for the first time.
“Anything we can do to bring a little bit of ‘Americana’ here to our sailors is good,” said Neumann. “The Super Bowl is such an iconic event that brings people together. It’s a morale booster no matter where you are, you can come and root for either team and just have fun. It is a rockin’ good time at the Libery Center. It is the best party on the base.”
Each of the different clubs across the base held Super Bowl parties with different menus and different activities. Friends and community members gathered to cheer on either the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers.
The sailors of USS Antietam (CG 54) were in port Yokosuka in time to catch the game and many of the sailors joined the local sailors at the Liberty Center.
“We are away from our family, but we are with another family, our ship family. It’s not the same but in a way I still feel at home,” said Operations Specialist Seaman Apprentice Andre Vergas. “It’s cool to be in Japan for this. We got up early and got off the ship and we came here. It’s chicken wings and football in the morning. That’s a unique experience.”
Local sailors from afloat and shore commands also enjoyed the early morning festivities.
“It’s been pretty good, [I’m] just glad I’ve got somewhere to spend the Super Bowl with my friends,” said Airman Joaquin Dabbs, from USS George Washington (CVN 73).
The game ended just after lunch time in Japan but according to Vergas and the other sailors the memories they made would stay with them for a lifetime.