Land and Maritime celebrates Navy’s birthday at inaugural Regatta

By Michael Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime

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Service members and associates took to the open waters on Defense Supply Center Columbus Oct. 16 for DLA Land and Maritime’s inaugural Navy Birthday Cardboard Regatta at the Eagle Eye Golf Course.

Dozens came out to support the eight two-person teams who raced homemade boats constructed with only cardboard and duct tape as a way to promote and support the U.S. Navy's 240th birthday.

Competitors were divided into four service teams and four civilian teams. The service teams faced off in heat one while the civilian teams went head-to-head in heat two, with the two winners navigating the rough seas in the final to determine the champion.

The first to cross the 25-yard long course across the pond on the golf course was the civilian team of Jiwon Han and Todd White, who’s vessel “Whimpsea Too” beat the Navy service team of Capt. Roger Alvarez and Lt. Cdr. Danny Ewing’s “USS Ships and Giggles” by a boat-length to take home the inaugural crown to the Business Process Support offices.

“This was probably the best event since we started working for DLA,” White said. “It was great to get away from the keyboard and use our hands to build something together as a team.”

The idea for the regatta race came from Ewing and fellow Lt. Cdr. Shawn Coleman after being asked to “think outside the box” for the Navy’s birthday celebration, Land and Maritime’s Chief of Staff, Navy Capt. Justin Debord said.

“The Navy officers were looking for an event that had the potential to garner participation from the entire organization,” Debord said. “The key motivation was to find something fun and interactive, yet allow us to remember the Navy's 240th birthday with pride and patriotism.”

In addition to trying not to sink their crafts into the pond’s murky waters, crewmates had to dodge water balloons thrown at them from both land and sea. A CFC fundraiser was held where spectators and fellow competitors could purchase biodegradable water balloons for use during the regatta.

“This was a terrific way to celebrate our Navy's birthday,” Navy Rear Adm. John King, Land and Maritime commander, said. “The regatta was flawlessly coordinated and executed in a safe environment while providing a friendly competition.”

Besides the regatta champions, other awards were handed out post-race. The People’s Champion award was handed out to the team with the best boat as voted on by associates. The civilian team of Dan Hogue and James Spenn and their boat “Watertight Integrity” took home the prize. They also claimed the Spirit Award for demonstrating the best attitude during the regatta. The Titanic Award fittingly went to the Army team of Col. Yee Hang and Capt. Garcia, “Super Kid,” for the boat that sinks or has the most trouble in the most spectacular fashion.

With the success of the inaugural boat regatta, next year's competition should see even more teams competing. It may also serve as a template for other service’s to celebrate their respective birthdays relevant to their histories.

“The event exceeded everyone's expectations and set a new benchmark for our service birthday celebrations, hopefully for years to come,” King said.

The full field of entrants was (with boat name):

Service teams: Navy--Alvarez and Ewing; Army—Hang and Garcia; Marine Corps—Lt. Col. Sean Murray and Maj. Eziekel Allen; Air Force—Col. Brad Tannehill and Tech Sgt. Suzanne Haley “Eat my Wake.”
Civilian teams: Han and White; Hogue and Spenn; John Chenault and Andrea Motley, “LSV 6”; and Benjamin Kinstinger and Amy Banta, “Duct Tape Assurance.”