(Via Ho’okele News)
Story and photo by MC2 Diana Quinlan
Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Detachment Hawaii
Members of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team took a guided tour aboard Pearl Harbor-based, guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) on July 10 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The second-ranked U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team was in Hawaii for the USA Volleyball Cup match between Team USA and Brazil. The Navy was slated to participate in the opening ceremonies at the games.
Upon the team’s arrival at the pier, Sailors aboard the USS Paul Hamilton cheered in unanimous greeting: “USA!” Cmdr. Luke Frost, commanding officer of the ship, personally welcomed the members of the team pierside, awarding each player with a commemorative ship’s ball cap.
“We had a great visit from the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team,” said Frost. “It was a tremendous opportunity for Sailors and players to interact and share their pride in representing the United States.”
Paul Hamilton is one of 10 surface combatants currently assigned to Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, Destroyer
Squadron 31. Guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission, anti-air warfare, antisubmarine warfare and anti-surface warfare combatants that operate independently for the support of carriers and expeditionary and surface strike groups.
During the visit, Team USA toured the ship’s bridge and later met with Sailors and signed autographs on the ship’s bow, from which they also observed Battleship Missouri and USS Arizona Memorials.
“The tour was amazing and something we did not expect,” said Cassidy Lichtman, member of the volleyball team. “We didn’t know what was going to happen and what we were here for. We were just told that we were going to meet some members of the military and that they are excited to see us, and it was so great and got us very excited.”
Lichtman spoke about similarities that she noticed between the service members and sports players.
“The more Sailors talked about ship’s operations, the more parallels I could see between what they do on the ship and what we do,” she said. “Every person has their own job, and if one person is not doing his or her job it affects the whole team—it is all about working as a team efficiently.”
The commander said the point of such visits not only as a morale booster for the ship’s crew and athletes, but as a feeling of overall unity in doing something great for the nation.
“There are so many levels where we have things in common with these young athletes that are representing the United States, the same way as our Sailors representing this country,” said Frost. “We have ties across home towns, across the love for sport and the love in representing our nation, which makes it a very exciting visit for our Sailors to enjoy and get excited about.”
The games were played at the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawaii campus July 11 and 12. USA swept the series 2-0.