ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors decked out in blue shirts are commonly seen on the mess decks and the galleys wiping tables, serving food, cleaning, washing plates and more. The food service attendants (FSA) play a vital role in the cleanliness and smooth process of preparing for each meal of the day.
The culinary specialists' (CS) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) primary focus is meal prep, while FSA helps out with cleaning the galley and mess decks.
"There isn't much down time for Sailors in the food service division," said Aviation Ordnanceman Cody Pinson, an FSA. "If we left the mess decks for more than a half hour, there would be a lot of work to catch up on."
Comprised of a variety of ratings, FSAs are sent from each department on the ship and temporarily assigned duty (TAD) to help the CSs with their heavy load.
"The galley and mess decks are important parts of the ship," said Pinson. "It's a place for everyone to unwind while eating their food. The overall morale in the mess decks is positive."
The average time Sailors work as an FSA is three months in various divisions of food services. They work 16 hours per day in port and 12 hour shifts while out to sea. Serving thousands of Sailors per day takes thorough preparation and is time-demanding, but FSAs devote their work days to ensure everything is set up for the next chow time.
Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Dalton Wright, who leaves the food services division soon, says serving as an FSA was enlightening.
"I'm going to be a little more diligent while eating on the mess decks," Wright said. "Working as an FSA teaches you to be cognizant of what you leave behind when you're done eating."
Information Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Kolb says that he has newfound respect for FSAs after serving as the mess deck Master-At-Arms for three months.
"Little things go a long way," said Kolb. "Cleaning up after yourself can make FSAs job a lot easier."
"FSAs take good care of the mess decks so that Sailors have a sanitary place to eat," said Kolb. "As long as Sailors leave the food services division appreciating the long hours devoted to the upkeep of this place, it's worth every minute of it."
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