ABOARD USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Mothers aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) received a warm embrace from Sailors from the Supply Department as a special luncheon celebration was prepared for them on the aft mess decks May 10.
The ceremony was designed to celebrate Mother's Day for the hundreds of mothers assigned to Ronald Reagan, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 7 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, who will be away from their children on the special day.
Culinary Specialists, food service attendants and members of the ship's 3 & 2 Association provided the special lunch which included shrimp cocktail, "surf and turf," and a cheesecake dessert. At the ceremony, there were also several guest speakers and a small gift at each seat waiting for the deployed mothers.
"Everyone who was involved with the preparations for our Mother's Day lunch went far beyond any of our expectations," said Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class Maria Pedraza. "I really enjoyed myself at the celebration."
According to Pedraza, ceremonies such as this one for Mother's Day assist crew members in coping with being deployed away from friends and family, especially their children.
"The celebration for Mother's Day made me realize that I'm not the only woman in the military who's made so many sacrifices by having to be away from her children. It brought all the mothers on board together, which I think helped us deal with the fact we're so far away from our children on this special day," said Pedraza.
The ceremony also helped mothers realize the importance of their role in what they do aboard, according to Capt. Terry B. Kraft, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer.
"I attended the ceremony to show my gratitude and appreciation," said Kraft, one of the guest speakers at the Mother's Day celebration. "Mothers who have the courage to go out to sea to defend their country are very special. Their commitment to our country while raising a family is an extraordinary feat."
The ceremony was designed to allow mothers aboard the ship to enjoy some good food and relaxation, according to Culinary Specialist 1st Class Tremel Hoover, coordinator of the Mother's Day celebration.
"I wanted to show moms of Ronald Reagan something they have never seen before. Even though we are underway and separated from our families, we can still take time and give a special thanks to the mothers who have affected our lives," said Hoover.
Chefs aboard, according to Hoover, tried their best to prepare a five-star-quality lunch for the mothers aboard to show their appreciation.
"We wanted to create an atmosphere and provide a meal entirely different from the daily shipboard life these wonderful women experience. We wanted to make them understand just how special they are by doing what they have to while they're away from their families, by providing this experience to them while we're at sea," said Hoover.
Ronald Reagan, CVW-14, CSG 7 and DESRON 7 are currently deployed in the Persian Gulf as part of a routine rotation of U.S. maritime forces in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as well as conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the region.
MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.
Commissioned in 2003, Ronald Reagan is the Navy's newest Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and departed San Diego Jan. 4 on her maiden deployment.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.