SEMBAWANG, Republic of Singapore --
Sports Day was the name, competition was the game on the first day of liberty in Singapore, as 270 Marines and Sailors from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Essex Amphibious Ready Group got together for a day of sports, food and camaraderie.
Held by leadership for the visiting Marines and Sailors, Sports Day was just what these service members needed to get off their ships and onto the court – or field.
“The goal of Sports Day was to give the Marines and Sailors something else to do instead of spending their money and time in bars. It also gives them a chance to have a good time and to earn some bragging rights, if they win their games,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Hawkins, expeditor, Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st MEU.
From the MEU, USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Denver (LPD 9) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), Marines and Sailors were able to put together ten basketball teams and 12 softball teams for the days’ events, and many came to watch the games and enjoy the fresh air. The teams played single elimination rounds that ended in one championship game for each sport.
During the events, service members were able to participate in friendly competition and enjoyed food provided by the USS Essex. The service members that prepared the food also kept score of the games and helped with organization and clean up. All were volunteers and essential to the day’s success.
“I had a great time and I believe it was a good opportunity to get out and build camaraderie with my fellow Marines and Sailors,” said Lance Cpl. David Kort, supply administration clerk with the 31st MEU. “I was able to spend some time with friends in a country I had never been to and save some money.”
The 31st MEU and the Essex ARG are in Singapore on a scheduled port visit midway through a regular patrol of the Asia-Pacific region. The Marines and Sailors are on a port visit after recently completing a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission in the Northern Philippines.