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    USS John P. Murtha Celebrates the Fourth of July at Sea

    GULF OF ADEN – U.S. Navy Sailors and Marines celebrated the Fourth of July with a “Firecracker” fun run and steel beach picnic while at sea aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26).
    The fun run, hosted by the ship’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) committee and medical department, included a relay run and four-mile run.
    “The run was our way of celebrating our nation’s birthday while we’re out here at sea,” said U.S. Navy Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class David Liberty, the ship’s MWR President. “We found a break in the schedule which allowed us some time to run on the flight deck and bring something new to the crew on board.”
    With temperatures in the high 90s to low 100s, the ship’s medical department was on hand to ensure the Sailors and Marines stayed safe and more importantly, hydrated.
    “Safety and the mission; our Sailors and Marines, is our number one priority,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Mary Coughlin, the ship’s senior medical officer. “While the focus of the fun run is to have fun, we have to make sure everyone stays safe, and that includes them staying hydrated.”
    Later in the day, the ship’s first and second class petty officer associations hosted a steel beach picnic.
    “This is the first time two associations have come together to host a steel beach picnic,” said U.S. Navy Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Earnest Hightower, president of the ship’s First Class Petty Officer Association. “We wanted to make this as great a time as we could for everyone. We’re out here doing what we signed up to do, protecting our families back home, so why not enjoy a cookout and games while we’re out here.”
    Instead of the traditional hamburgers, the two associations broke out steaks, a welcomed treat by the crew.
    “This might have been the best steak I’ve ever had since I’ve been in the Navy,” said U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Raychard Dauphin.
    “This is only my third steel beach picnic since being on board,” said U.S. Navy Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Ryan Elrod. “I was expecting a hamburger, which are usually good, but these steaks are amazing.”
    Hightower said he was happy so many people were enjoying themselves on our nation’s birthday.
    “It’s not every day you get to celebrate holidays while on a deployment,” said Hightower. “But here on John P. Murtha, when that opportunity arises, we make the best of it. And on a day like today, we tried, and I think succeeded, in making this feel like a day back home as best we could.”
    John P. Murtha is currently on its first deployment and part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit team and is deployed to the 5th Fleet area of operation in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.



    Date Taken: 07.04.2019
    Date Posted: 07.06.2019 12:13
    Story ID: 330399
    Location: GULF OF ADEN

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