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Engineers defend title at annual boat race

By Kristin Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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To fans of the late 60s comedy Gilligan’s Island, the crew of the SS Minnow were known for their doomed “three-hour tour” that ended with them shipwrecked and marooned on an uncharted island. But for fans of the Defense Supply Center Columbus’ Navy Cardboard Regatta, the two-man crew of the re-tooled SS “Winnow” are known as four-time champions of the center’s annual boat race in celebration of the U.S Navy’s 244th birthday.

“Skipper” Tom Morley and “Gilligan” Jonathan Watkins paddled across the 100-yard Eagle Eye Golf Course Pond to victory aboard their watercraft after winning their final-round heat against the USS Bama Buckeye Dawgs, USS Dam the Torpedoes and USS Snappy.

Now in its fifth year, the race is produced by the installation’s naval population in conjunction with the Morale, Welfare and Recreation office during the second week of October to coincide with the U.S. Navy’s birthday. All associates are invited to sign up a team and create a seaworthy boat out of the only two authorized materials: cardboard and duct tape. This year, eight teams participated, representing units across the installation including the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, the U.S. Navy and the Ohio River Valley’s Navy Talent Acquisition Group, formerly known as Navy Recruiting District – Ohio.

DLA Land and Maritime Director of Maritime Supplier Operations Navy Capt. Jeffrey Schmidt opened the program, welcoming the crowd as organizers prepared to get things “rolling or floating or sinking.” Schmidt then introduced the installation’s senior Navy officer, DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. John Palmer, who kicked off the event.

Palmer tied the day’s events to historical moments in naval history.

“Happy birthday Navy to 244 fine years! It’s indeed appropriate that we have a handful of boats to launch today because 244 years ago it was six wooden ships,” he stated, referring to the original frigates built during the formative years of the U.S. Navy. Palmer anticipated the crowd would see battles, sinkings and victories before the day was out, and his prediction came true. Three boats sunk and the remaining five battled each other amidst flying water balloons to cross the finish line in three separate heats. 

Honors were awarded to the top three finishers, as well as the People’s Choice Award for fan favorite and the Titanic Award for most spectacular sinking.

All participants are listed below:

Team 1: USS Dam the Torpedoes Third Place Finisher
Navy Lt. Loc Nguyen and Navy Lt. Molly Anderson, U.S. Navy

Team 2: USS Bama Buckeye DawgsSecond Place Finisher
Navy Capt. David Lockney and Mia Busby of DLA Land and Maritime’s Maritime Customer Operations Directorate

Team 3: USS Bull Ship 2.0
Mike Lanning and Vern Shaw of DLA Land and Maritime’s Business Process Support Directorate

Team 4: USS (W)Interns – Titanic Award
Madison Laughlin and Michael Merriman of DLA Land and Maritime’s Maritime Supplier Operations Directorate

Team 5: USS WinnowPeople's Choice and Overall Winner 
Tom Morley and Jonathan Watkins of DLA Land and Maritime’s Engineering and Technical Support Directorate

Team 6: USS Quiet Storm
Deonna Coleman and Natalie Thurston, representing the Federal Women’s Program

Team 7: USS Snappy
Val Minor and Michael Lunn of DLA Land and Maritime’s Maritime Supplier Operations Directorate

Team 8: USS Last Minute
Petty Officer’s First Class Jose Rubio and Joshua Davis, Navy Talent Acquisition Group – Ohio River Valley

Click here to access the photo gallery (CAC-enabled).