TCH arrived on station in the Red Sea in August 1990 and immediately
began conducting MIF operations in support of Operation Desert. Long weeks were turning into long months at-sea with a few
days of liberty in Hurghada and Jeddha, and no end in sight for our return to Norfolk as the conflict escalated. Steel beach
picnics nearly every Sunday, the weekly NFL pool and daily showings of "House Party" on CCTV weren't enough
to keep morale up. We needed something more..
The announcement was for every division to have a representative
for the Valentine's Day Parade. Divison representatives would win valuable prizes and be judged on their "beauty,
poise, glamour and costume selection" as they walked the runway on Valentine's Day. Many were skeptical and didn't
believe the crew would be interested. Christmas in Izmir at anchor alongside the tender, and visits to Haifa and Rhodes allowed
crewmembers to assemble many articles of clothing. We are certain many orders for garments were received from families and
friends, and perhaps, Frederick's of Hollywood and Victoria's Secret, including sizes seemingly beyond the imagination.
It was quiet during the weeks leading up to the competition but we knew
something good was going to happen when questions about rules and prizes were being asked. Some divisions finalized their
representatives early and some late. The Wardroom held an election the night before and "The Ensign" was chosen.
It was a magical moment when contestants and their "escorts" were paraded on the messdeck on Valentine's Day.
Some were quite strikingly "attractive", others were hilarious, and a couple were beyond words of description. Some
dressed formally, some wore casual attire, while others .....
three judges, the CO, the MCPO of the Command, and the oldest man on the ship - ET1 Rhea had the difficult task of choosing
the winners. The laughter could be heard all across the ship, underway on a sunny day in the northern Red Sea.
Everyone that participated was a winner and will always be held in the highest esteem by
their shipmates for an afternoon of laughs and a lifetime of memories. The names of the winners are being held from this sea
story to protect the innocent, however, page 33 of our cruise book does attest to "The voluptuous Andela".