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/Stars and Stripes Navy spouse Julie Baker helps serve a free homecooked Christmas dinner prepared by Navy and civilian spouses Thursday night under tents just outside Sasebo Naval Base’s Spare Time Bowling Center during the Single Sailors Christmas Party.
/Stars and Stripes Navy spouse Julie Baker helps serve a free homecooked Christmas dinner prepared by Navy and civilian spouses Thursday night under tents just outside Sasebo Naval Base’s Spare Time Bowling Center during the Single Sailors Christmas Party. (Greg Tyler / S&S)
/Stars and Stripes Navy spouse Julie Baker helps serve a free homecooked Christmas dinner prepared by Navy and civilian spouses Thursday night under tents just outside Sasebo Naval Base’s Spare Time Bowling Center during the Single Sailors Christmas Party.
/Stars and Stripes Navy spouse Julie Baker helps serve a free homecooked Christmas dinner prepared by Navy and civilian spouses Thursday night under tents just outside Sasebo Naval Base’s Spare Time Bowling Center during the Single Sailors Christmas Party. (Greg Tyler / S&S)
Jerry Havens, left, president of the Sasebo Naval Base Navy League Council, was busy Thursday orchestrating free bowling at Sasebo’s Spare Time Bowling Center during the Single Sailors Christmas Party.
Jerry Havens, left, president of the Sasebo Naval Base Navy League Council, was busy Thursday orchestrating free bowling at Sasebo’s Spare Time Bowling Center during the Single Sailors Christmas Party. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Single sailors and guests here leaned back in their chairs satisfied Thursday night after a belt-tightening home-cooked meal served at the Single Sailors Christmas Party.

Sponsored by the Sasebo Navy League Council; Wardroom Association; Morale, Welfare and Recreation; United Service Organizations; Officers’ Spouses Club and other base groups, the party featured the meal, door prizes, free bowling, video games and billiards at the Spare Time Bowling Center.

After a couple of plates full of turkey, ham, dressing and giblet gravy, Petty Officer 3rd Class Cornelius Frost from the USS Fort McHenry said word of the party spread through the ship about five days ago. The ship returned Wednesday from a humanitarian relief mission in the Philippines.

“This food is so good. Everyone was very positive knowing this party would happen, although there are still some that just prefer to get off base when in port, or even head up to Fukuoka. Some just stay on the ship for whatever reason. This is a great alternative,” Frost said, then headed back for desserts.

Shipmate Petty Officer 2nd Class Chad Leno planned to fly home to Oregon on Friday and spend two weeks with his family. He eased into the Christmas spirit by partaking in the food cooked and served by Navy and civilian spouses.

“This is really good,” he said, looking down at a plate holding at least five dessert items. “This is way, way better than eating in the ship’s galley. Way better.”

Meanwhile, inside the Spare Time Bowling Center, more than 200 single sailors and guests packed the bowling lanes and video-game areas, while some were shooting pool and others mingled and socialized.

“Putting on this party, and serving the meal, seeing that they enjoy it like they do … it kind of makes you feel like you’re doing it for your own [family],” said Beth Martin, a Navy League Council member, elementary school teacher and wife of Capt. Bradley Martin.

Between dishing out servings of cornbread dressing, she added, “It’s really very nice knowing how they are enjoying this.”

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