Cheerleader AFE Trip Diary: An Eye-Opening Experience

The Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders had an electrifying performance outside of Djibouti.

Posted by on Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Categories: Cheerleader AFE Trip Diary

Day 6: An Eye-Opening Experience

After a good night rest at the Kempinski Palace, we are waiting in the lobby ready for our next adventure.  That wait would turn out to be a lot longer due to a security issue at the airport.  For a while there, we thought our final ship tour was going to be cancelled and everyone was bummed out.  Fortunately they got things squared away and two hours later we were off to Camp Lemonier.

To get there, drove through the city of Djibouti.  What an eye opening experience!  Just in the short drive to camp, we got an appreciation for how good we have it in the states.  Running water, paved roads, sewer, and agriculture are basics that are lacking here.  After a site like this, we are glowing with pride that our military is doing something to help build their infrastructure and improve the quality of life out here.

A quick 30-minute helicopter ride and we arrived on the USS Bonhomme Richard.  There must have been 50 crewmen and women out to greet us as soon as we landed!  More impressive, we were greeted and briefed Commanding Officer (CO), Captain John Funk.  His enthusiasm and the energy of the crew was electrifying. We couldn’t wait to perform and interact with these soldiers. After about five minutes of prep time, we headed to our first show of the day.  When we got there, a huge American flag was hanging, ceiling to floor as the backdrop with Astroturf for the stage.  The crowd was pumped up and the setting was perfect for a dynamite show!  We signed autographs, took pictures and had great conversation that lasted just as long as our performance.

After our second show, we are still floored by the crew’s response to our presence.  They have been out to sea for 91 days and have been getting restless.  By the 40th handshake and “thank you,” we are starting to understand the impact we are making.  These sailors and marines are excited to have a piece of Baltimore on-board. To wrap up our 18 hour day, we experienced three Harrier jet take-offs from the flight deck and the best ice cream in the Arabian Sea, Cinnamon Nutmeg.

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