Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55) celebrated the holidays and the halfway point of their deployment in Limassol, Dec. 24.
Since Stout's departure from her homeport in Norfolk, Va., the ship has supported ballistic missile defense in the Mediterranean, participated in three multinational exercises, and maintained an active and vital presence in the area.
"It's important to celebrate the holidays and recognize the halfway point as a way to pause for reflection on the meaning of what we do for the protection of peace and freedom," said Cmdr. Robert Alpigini, Stout's commanding officer. "It also recognizes the accomplishments that the Stout team has achieved thus far on deployment."
The festivities began on the mess decks with a large meal prepared by the ship's culinary specialists. The meal included whole roasted pig, turkey, prime rib, a variety of side dishes, desserts, and a decorated cake.
"The culinary specialists did an amazing job. I absolutely loved the stuffing and the roasted pig," said Gunner's Mate 3rd Class Amber Barnes. "Then we all went out onto the flight deck to continue the celebration. The friendship lights had been hoisted, a tree had been set up, and there were stockings everywhere. It looked beautiful."
The entire crew gathered together on the flight deck for a large gift exchange. A number of organizations like Soldiers Angels, Project Santa, Jim and Rita Toepfer, Project Package, Vietnam Veterans of America and many more donated food, stockings, games, candy, cards, stuffed animals and a variety of other gifts so that each Sailor could open something.
"I greatly appreciate the many organizations and individuals who so graciously and unselfishly donated gifts, cards, and care packages to team Stout this year," said Alpigini. "The unwavering support of so many is a constant reminder that we serve a grateful nation."
The Chiefs Mess, wardroom, Moral, Warfare, and Recreation, and First and Second Class Petty Officer Associations all donated money to purchase large items like tablets, Kindles, laptops, gift cards, and many other items to give away as well.
"This was one of the best Christmases I have ever had on the ship," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Samantha Domenech. "All of the organizations worked really hard to put this together. We gave away some really amazing gifts and there was so much donated. This was a very successful holiday and halfway point celebration."
Stout is on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operation.