USS Constellation News

Wednesday, August 28, 1999           The Starscope                   Volume 7, Number 89

Do you believe - it's almost time for leave?

By JO1 R. Scott Sutherland

    Thinking about Christmas in August is enough to bring a smile to any crewmembers' face. Thanks to the recent announcement of the ship's holiday leave schedule, those smiles might stay on a little bit longer.

    According to Connie's XO, Cmdr. Steve Squires of Bellevue, Wash., there are two regular leave periods scheduled after the ship arrives in San Diego on Dec. 17.

    "The first leave period is Dec. 18 to Dec. 29," Squires said. "The turnover will be Dec. 30. The second leave period is Dec. 31 through Jan. 12."

    There's also some good news for some Sailors who want to begin their Christmas vacation early. Squires said the ship will allow at least 300 people to fly back to San Diego Dec. 11 from Hawaii.

    "We have 300 seats aboard a chartered jet. The Tiger Cruise guests who will be coming aboard Dec. 10 vacated those seats. Crewmembers who choose to begin their leave in Hawaii will probably be on the jet back home the evening of Dec. 11."

    Crewmembers who opt for that route must have an approved leave chit, Squires said.

    The ship's MWR office is currently finalizing details for the one-way flight from Honolulu to San Diego. According to Isaiah Mincks of Goldendale, Wash., the ship's MWR representative, his office is working with Konakai Travel of San Diego to arrange for flight reservations. The travel agent is the same company that booked the Tiger Cruise flight from San Diego to the islands.

    "Sailors need to have their approved leave papers in hand before they purchase their tickets," Mincks said. "The cost is $250 per person."

    MWR will announce reservation sign-up in the near future.

    Squires said that department heads are authorized to have 50 percent of their people on leave. During Thursday's Connie Currents program on SITE-TV, Squires also said the ship will be in four-section duty during the holiday stand down period.

    "Duty section one will have duty the day the ship pulls into San Diego," Squires said.

    Some Connie Sailors have already begun to make a list, and check it twice, to see what leave periods they want to take, or to mull over their vacation plans.

    For QMSN Alfred Green of Atlanta, Ga., his leave period means seclusion, at least for awhile.

    "I'm going to take whatever I need from the ship and hide out for awhile," he said. "Then, I'll go visit my family in Atlanta."

    "I'm still debating on what I'm going to do," said YNSN Dwayne Smith of Houston, Texas. "I'll probably take the first leave period and start getting ready for my wedding."

    More information on the leave periods will be available at the department level.

    For those crewmembers who are keeping a running tally of the number of calendar days left on cruise, you might want to add an asterisk next to Dec 10 and Dec. 11. That just might be the time to widen your smile.