October 22, 2014 --
Amidst the sea of dress uniforms, sailors of different ranks from Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital came together to celebrate the Navy’s 239th Birthday at the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, Oct. 10, 2014.
Command Master Chief Petty Officer Kathy Hansen was the guest of honor and gave sailors a motivational speech. Hansen has also served as the command’s chief petty officer aboard the USS Pearl Harbor and the USS Ronald Reagan.
“I think this ball is great, it’s nice that the small group of sailors we have come here to enjoy themselves,” said Cmdr. Wendy Pinkham, department head of physical therapy, Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital.
Throughout the night, sailors danced and socialized. A raffle was drawn with gift baskets containing objects ranging from household items to toys.
“It is a great [opportunity] to get dressed up and get everyone out of the clinic at least for a little bit,” Pinkham said.
For some sailors who attended, it was their first time observing naval traditions.
“It’s my first time here at the ball and it’s great,” said Seaman Tyler Walkem, dental assistant, Dental office. “I like seeing the different types of sailors, from the ones who have been in the Navy a long time to the sailors who just joined.”
Though the ball served as a hallmark to recognize another year of Naval Service to the country, sailors took the opportunity to appreciate their petty officers and seamen.
“It was nice seeing sailors of different rates coming together,” said Chief Petty Officer Kevin Keosibounheuang, Battalion Chief Petty Officer, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. “It’s also a good way to reward sailors who work the clinics and the ones attached to units. Because of them I can sleep easy and this is a good way of saying ‘thank you.’”
Each sailor was proud of their naval traditions, especially during the cake-cutting ceremony when Pinkham, who was the oldest sailor, cut the first piece of cake, then passed it to Seaman Shardonnae Collier, the youngest sailor, symbolizing the passing of knowledge.
“Seeing the future of the Navy in the young sailors is a great way to show the new generation of sailors what the old naval traditions are all about,” Keosibounheuang said.
Many Americans have served honorably in the Navy. The birthday celebrations, along with other naval ceremonies have kept naval traditions alive for the past 239 years.