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USO Naples Honors Standout Sailors For Their Service

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

By Christian Pelusi 

In the holiday vein of giving thanks and sharing warm greetings, USO Naples held a Sailor of the Quarter Recognition event on Nov. 30. Fleet Master Chief JoAnn Ortloff presided over the proceedings as sailors were recognized by the USO and their leadership for their excellence and dedication.

"We are here to support the sailors and this event does just that," USO Naples and Rome Area Director Sabrina Pullido wrote via email, describing how the event dovetails with the USO’s mission of lifting the spirits of troops and their families. "It's great to see everyone take the time out of their busy day and come out and celebrate the accomplishments of these fine service members.”

According to Pullido, the quarterly event, which was held at the USO Naples at the NSA Naples Capodichino Air Terminal, was conceived four years ago during a brainstorming session with Vice Admiral Charles J. Leidig. Leidig, now the Deputy Commander for Military Operations United States Africa Command, wanted an opportunity to personally congratulate exemplary sailors that the USO had selected for recognition and the event has become a cherished tradition.

“[The ceremony] is one my favorite events,” Pullido wrote. “In the military, everyone is always going out of their way and making sacrifices as if it is the most normal thing in the world. It's great to be able to see our sailors shine under the limelight for once!

“The sense of community and support is always strong in all military communities, but the holidays make it even more special.”  

Fleet Master Chief Ortloff praised USO Naples and the larger organization for being steadfast in its support of servicemen and women.  

“Personally, it's an honor to have been a part of USO's generous support to our Sailors of the Quarter recognition reception,” Fleet Master Chief Ortloff wrote in an email. “While personal awards are always an honor, recognition from volunteers at the USO means so much more. The time that the USO set aside for this reception said volumes about the support and genuine care they have for the military.

“Although I was not a Sailor of the Quarter recipient, I sure felt like a winner that day. The USO has a way of doing that, making us all feel important, whatever our rank or service branch. The USO not only recognizes the personal accomplishments of our men and women in the military, it offers a ‘down home comfort’ and is a constant for each of us, wherever we are in the world. That is shown in a big way here at our Naples USO sites.”

Along with being named a Sailor of the Quarter, sailors are given a free “wine and dine tour,” homemade gifts from USO staff and volunteers and a special challenge coin from the USAA and the Fleet Master Chief.

For one of the honorees, IT1 Abel Aguirre, the award came as a surprise.

“I had received a phone call from my chief and he told me that I needed to go to the USO office for the event,” IT1 Aguirre wrote via email. “It was a really good feeling to know that the USO took the time to organize an event to recognize the hard work of the sailors. It's always nice to know that someone is thinking of you.”

IT1 Aguirre also mentioned how USO Naples offers excursions that help deployed troops and military families enjoy the foreign lands they reside in and ingratiate them with the local population.

"The USO is such an incredible resource for my family. The day trips and extended trips are the best. I love the trips because everything is organized [by USO Naples] from the transportation to the lodging, the food and the guided tours. I never have to worry about our itinerary."

(Sabrina Pullido and Luisa Mazzella contributed to this story.) 

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Photo credit: Sabrina M. Pullido / USO 

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