November: Bringing Joy and Cheer to the USS Carney

November 14 – 19
By: Diana Corinealdi
Amidst the holiday season, USO Rota came together to bring warmth and cheer to our deployed sailors aboard the USS Carney. Here’s a rundown of the heartwarming events that lifted spirits and boosted morale: 

Tuesday, November 14th: A Warm Welcome Followed by a Gingerbread House Competition 

We kicked off the week bright and early, welcoming the sailors aboard the USS Carney with a Cup of Joe. USO Rota brought delightful fall flavors such as pumpkin spice lattes, salted caramel lattes, and classic black coffee. It was a fantastic start to their day! One sailor aboard the ship highlighted the impact, stating, “this is great right here! One little cup of coffee goes a long way." 

Later that evening, USO Rota brought a Gingerbread House competition to the crew. Our team, decked out in merry Christmas costumes, brought loads of candies, marshmallow trees, candy canes, frosting, and graham crackers to set the stage for this epic showdown. Sailors armed with sugary supplies unleashed their imagination on their delicious architectural feats. Enthusiasm and cheer were at an all-time high as the teams vied for the title of Gingerbread House champions. CTT3 Hansen hailed it as an outstanding morale booster, expressing, "the gingerbread house competition was a lot of fun and a great event. It improved morale and I enjoyed the competition component.” The victorious teams won fantastic prizes, their smiles a testament to the fun shared during this competition.  

Wednesday, November 15th: Tie-Dye Fun 

The following day, USO Rota cranked up the fun-o-meter with another Cup of Joe followed by a groovy tie-dye event that had sailors seeing swirls before their eyes! Transforming into tie-dye pros, the sailors turned USO gear into vibrant, eye-catching pieces of art. The ship was abuzz with laughter and excitement as socks, T-shirts, and handkerchiefs underwent colorful makeovers. 

Their tie-dye skills were on full display, with sailors proudly showcasing their kaleidoscopic creations. “The tie-dye event was very helpful because a lot of sailors can’t get off the ship so you guys coming and being here really means a lot. It really does.” HT2 Gipson expresses as she showed USO Rota her beautifully tie-dyed flower design on her USO t-shirt. 

Thursday, November 16th: Troop Lunch on the Flight Deck 

USO Rota hosted a delicious Troop Lunch right on the flight deck for the USS Carney! Picture this: mountains of sandwiches, ice-cold drinks, crispy chips, and a dessert spread that could make anyone’s sweet tooth sing. We kicked it up a notch with a load of fun activities for our incredible sailors to snag some USO goodies. Sailors were twirling Hula Hoops like pros, tossing bean bags like cornhole champions, stacking giant Jenga blocks like towering architects, and busting out the freshest dance moves known to the seven seas! The beats were blasting, the sun was shining, and the energy was electric.

Before the Troop Lunch ended, we had one more surprise in store! The sailors received a special USO2Go Care package packed with fun board games and delicious snacks. It was our way of ensuring the fun and enjoyment would continue as they set sail, a token of appreciation for their service and dedication. 

Saturday, November 18th: Spreading Christmas Cheer 

As the USS Carney geared up for their next mission at sea, USO Rota made sure to sprinkle some Christmas magic before their departure. We bid them a festive farewell with a Cup of Joe that was straight out of Santa’s workshop! Our team decked out as Santa’s merry elves and reindeer, dishing out Peppermint lattes, toasted marshmallow delights, rich hot cocoa, and a taste of Spanish pastries—a true feast for the senses that brought the holiday spirit to life. As noted by OSCS Jessie Quarterman Jr., “Great smiles, Christmas cheer, awesome costumes. Like I said, you guys are up here super early waking us up with a cup of coffee.” 

Alongside this merry send-off, USO Rota delivered a total of four Programs in a Box to keep their spirits high while they continued their deployment. Knowing they wouldn’t be home for the holidays, we aimed to wrap them in the warmth and joy of Christmas, infusing the ship with the coziness and cheer usually found around this time of year. It was our way of bringing a touch of home and spreading the heartfelt spirit of the season to those far from their loved ones.

The joy on the faces of our deployed forces spoke volumes, reminding us of the importance of connection and camaraderie, especially during times away from home. Senior Chief Gillaspie conveys, “it was really awesome, you all hosted great events and really boosted our morale.” Over the course of the week, USO Rota was and is continuously proud to be a part of this journey to uplift our servicemen and women. 

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