PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- November traditionally marks the start of the holiday season with Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of the month, but it can also serve as a reminder of the sacrifices Sailors make each year in serving their country.
Because of their duties or distance from home, some shipmates are unable to spend this holiday with their loved ones, but USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) is making up for this with an on board Thanksgiving meal to rival family cooking back home.
"We want to show the crew they are important," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Van Vergara, Ike's food service officer. "We want to thank them for all their sacrifices and especially Sailors on duty who will not be able to be with their families on that day."
Vergara and his team of approximately 100 culinary specialists (CS) will provide a full Thanksgiving meal, including shrimp cocktail, steak, 336 pounds of turkey and prime rib, 180 pies, and 20 cases of corn. Vergara said this is only a small fraction of what he and his team plan to serve for Thanksgiving.
"We have been planning for the ship's Thanksgiving since June," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Jerrod Clemons, cargo leading petty officer. "This is considered the division's super bowl as far as meals are concerned and it's time for our division to show off our talents."
Clemons added that every Sailor in the S-2 Food Service Division, including food service attendants (FSA), will be aiding in prepping, decorating and cooking the day before and day of Thanksgiving. Sailors also will have the opportunity to bring family members aboard to share the dinner with them.
"Being able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Navy family makes ship life a little easier," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Shamya Curtis. "I'm looking forward to the food and I'm thinking about bringing my mom aboard to celebrate also."
Vergara anticipates approximately 600 people, including family and friends, will attend the dinner aboard Ike.
Ike is undergoing a Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard during the maintenance phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP).
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