Naval Station rates as No. 1 for singles

Sailors rank base in the top spot in Navy Times survey

January 10, 2002|By Ariel Sabar | Ariel Sabar,SUN STAFF

If the Annapolis Naval Station were ever in the market for a motto, it might want to consider, "Hiya, sailor."

Survey results released yesterday by Navy Times, an independent newspaper, ranked the small station on the banks of Severn River as tops in the world for singles.

The base earned higher marks for the unattached life than did more than 100 other surveyed naval stations across the globe, a Navy Times spokesman said.

"If you're a sailor at Annapolis, you're doing pretty well," said David B. Smith, a Navy Times vice president.

A weekly based in Springfield, Va., the newspaper surveyed about 6,500 sailors from September to December as part of its first-ever "Best Base Awards."

Annapolis Naval Station, with 450 military personnel and civilians, ranked first in the "best for singles" and "best small base" categories, the latter for bases with fewer than 1,000 people.

Surveyed over the Internet, by mail and telephone, sailors voting for the Annapolis facility mentioned the town's night life, its proximity to Baltimore and Washington and recreational sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.

"There's easy access to things that attract singles," said a delighted Capt. Harold Flammang, base commander. "It's more than night life. It's not just a swinging singles scene."

Last year, he said, the base turned a defunct bowling alley into a singles hot spot, complete with wide-screen televisions, library and pool tables.

The newspaper awarded the overall "Best Base" award to a submarine base at Bangor, the woodsy 7,500-acre base on the Washington State coast noted for its housing, dining rooms, off-base schools and breathtaking views of Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains.

The 276-acre Annapolis base, among other things, maintains the patrol and sail boats used to train midshipmen at the Naval Academy, just across the Severn River. Nearly nine in 10 sailors at the base are men, and four in 10 are single - proportions roughly comparable the Navy as a whole.

Sailors were split yesterday on whether the Navy Times designation was deserved.

"I don't agree with it because I haven't met a soul except the people I work with," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Tereva Stapleton, 34. A chaplain's assistant, she was transferred to the station a week ago from a base on Diego Garcia, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean.

"That's the place for singles," Stapleton said last night, as she returned to the base from buying a new coat for the chilly Maryland winters. "It's so small you get to know everybody."

But Vondale Reynolds, 32, a hospital medic second class, can attest to Annapolis' reputation for flying Cupid's arrows: He met the woman who would become his wife at an African heritage festival in town in 1993.

Last night, he was stopping by the commissary to pick up the fixings for a meatloaf dinner for his wife, Tamiko Knight Reynolds, an office manager at an architecture firm, and their two daughters.

Though he is happily married, his sailor friends never stop with their stories about romantic conquests in bars and clubs from Baltimore to Georgetown. "They like it - they love it," he said. "I get jealous sometimes."

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