By Julie M. Lucas

NAS Jax Public Affairs Specialist

Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) chief petty officer (CPO) selects, their family members and CPOs enjoyed a night letting their hair down during the Navy Exchange (NEX) CPO Selectee Night Aug. 29. The selectees performed their favorite songs during a Lip Sync Battle.

"CPO Night at the Navy Exchange is an event that all employees look forward to all year," said NEX General Manager Marsha Brooks.

"It is our pleasure in celebrating this huge achievement in their careers."

After the store closed, a stage and chairs were quickly moved in to accommodate the audience. Brooks served as judge along with NAS Jax Commanding Officer Capt. Sean Haley, NAS Jax Executive Office Capt. Michael Connor and NAS Jax Command Master Chief Jeffery Waters.

Judging was based on how well the song was lip-synced and audience enthusiasm. 

All selectees are grouped into "boat" teams, named for U.S. Navy ships, at the beginning of the training process. The teams chose a variety of songs to perform this year. Selections included "Livin' On A Prayer," "Celebrate," and "Thunderstruck."

To kick off the event, NEX employees performed Beyonce's "Girls Run the World," wearing matching outfits.

The USS Louisiana team of CPO selectees chose the song, "It's Raining Men," because of only having one female on their boat team, AZC (select) Nicky Roberts of the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Jacksonville. 

 "She also already knew the song," said QMC (select) Terel Brown of Coastal Riverine Squadron 10. 

The winning boat team, USS New York, performed Psy's "Gangnam Style," during which Brooks jumped out of her seat and joined in the dance. 

"I guess we know who she is voting for!" joked Waters.

NEX Store Manager Kitty Case served as emcee of the event, asking CPO trivia questions and giving away prizes for correct responses. Prizes ranged from tents and gift baskets to bags filled with hats and other prizes. The big prize of the night was a highly-coveted cutlass sword. 

A special presentation was made to NEX employee Belle Horne, for 35 years of service and her upcoming retirement. Horne is responsible for the fitting of khaki uniforms for the selects, which is how the NEX CPO Night began. The selects presented a decorative paddle to Horne in recognition of her assistance with past selectees.

After the event, attendees enjoyed free food courtesy of the NEX food court vendors. One vendor had a celebrity chef come cook a special meal for the selects. 

"I had no idea how much fun this event would be and it was great seeing my husband get to loosen up," said family member Candice Cooper.