By MC3 Timothy M. Ahearn, Fleet Week New York Public Affairs
NEW YORK (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines assigned to USS San Antonio (LPD 17) participated in an annual Fleet Week New York tug-of-war competition in Rockefeller Plaza during a live broadcast of NBC's "Today" show, May 23.
Though both services put on a valiant effort, the Navy's team came out on top with a win for the fifth consecutive time. "Today" show hosts even joined in on the fun by donning the role of drill instructors to add an extra element of surprise to the challenge.
As the horn signaled the start, the Navy team immediately took control of the rope as cheers and screams resonated by their shipmates and fellow Marines to pull the red ribbon toward their respective side.
"We went out there, did what we had to do," said Seaman Joshua Page. "(We) came together as a team and walked away with the win."
In addition to the main event, Sailors and Marines showed their strengths through a pushup and fireman's carry drill with reporter Thomas Roberts. Most importantly, although there was a clear winner today, the camaraderie and team spirit exhibited will continue long after Fleet Week.
"At first, I didn't think anything of it, it's my job to be a Marine," said 1st Lt. Monica Witt. "Then I thought to myself, 'I'm on national television, I better not drop this guy.'"
Rear Adm. DeWolfe Miller III, commander, Carrier Strike Group Two, and Maj. Gen. Brian Beaudreault, commanding general, 2nd Marine Division, presided over the competition.
"We've done this event the past few years, and there's always a healthy rivalry between Sailors and Marines," said Miller. "... at the end of the day, it's not important who wins or loses, because we're all on the same team. I'm extremely proud."
Fleet Week New York, now in its 27th year, is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services. The weeklong celebration has been held nearly every year since 1984.