There were no mockery on USS Iwo Jima for “heels” – professional wrestlers who play villains in WWE matches – since, for Monday, The Street Profits, Bobby Lashley and Liv Morgan were definitely faces”. The good guys, that is.
And when Lashley found himself in a melee of sailors on the flight deck of Iwo, he gave them exactly the kind of high-volume battle cries that Chief Petty Officer Jeremy Duty has delighted in since he was as a kid in Florida and that his grandfather took him to games there.
Iwo Jima has just begun some of the toughest periods of a sailor’s mission, in the drydock at General Dynamics NASSCO Norfolk shipyard.
The Iwo has become a heavy industry yard. They moved their own workplaces and many berths to a nearby barge. “But it’s smaller than the ship, and things compress,” said Captain Judd Krier, the commanding officer.
Fundamentally, though, the problem with a shipyard spell is more than the noise and crowded conditions and the feeling of displacement.
“The ships belong to the sea, the sailors belong to the ships…I think almost everyone on the ship joined because they want to go to sea,” Krier said.
Iwo was at sea on a lengthy deployment from February to October last year – a deployment that came after months of being out in port for training while maintaining the Navy’s pandemic social distancing and safety rules. movement restriction. The crew managed to stay COVID-19 free.
Once back, the crew faced a move from Florida’s homeport to Norfolk. They moved here in December.
“We left warm, sunny Florida to arrive just in time for a Virginia winter,” Krier joked.
And, more seriously: “We had to move families, children, find new places to live – there wasn’t a lot of quiet time after the deployment.
So when Krier, a pro wrestling fan since the day he stumbled upon a match on television as a child, was ordering tickets to WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” show at Norfolk Scope, he thought that ‘there might be a way to cheer up. for the visit of the shipyard of Iwo.
“We haven’t really had a chance to show our sailors how much we appreciate their hard work over the past two years,” Krier said.
He pitched the idea with WWE – and former Army Private Lashley along with Navy veteran Montez Ford and Street Profit teammate Angelo Dawkins as well as Morgan jumped at the chance. They circled the ship, climbed the half-dozen ladders to the deck, met sailors from every department, spent one-on-one time on the mess deck and signed autographs on deck. of flight.
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“They’ve had their way,” Duty said.
For Chief Petty Officer Rosalie Dasher, division chief of the Iwo Weapons Department, it was a chance to catch up with her second cousin Lashley, a three-time national wrestling champion and four-time wrestling All-American, as well as a two-time Armed Forces champion and won the silver medal at the 2002 International Military Sports Championships.
“We see each other at family reunions and weddings, but being on active duty you don’t really get much of a chance to see your family,” she said.
“I’m not really a [wrestling] fan, and he teased me about it,” she added. “But I’m going to my first game tonight.”
She won’t be the only one.
“There are probably 300 who leave… after [the wrestlers] on the left, I know sailors in my division were lining up for tickets,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen everyone so excited.”
Dave Ress, 757-247-4535, [email protected]