PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Sailors and Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) workers took time away from their daily grind for a steel beach picnic on the flight deck Aug. 11.
There was no particular reason for the event, said Truman Fun Boss, Lt. Matt Conerly. He said it's just something the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) committee tries to do every quarter.
"We try to have a party, a big event for the crew, and this was this quarter's," said Conerly.
The sky was overcast and sprinkling rain, but it didn't keep a large crowd of people away. A line half the flight deck long formed as people waited for food.
When the food lines opened, Sailors walked through serving themselves pulled pork, fried chicken, barbecued chicken, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, and cookies. The MWR committee organized the event and Beach Bully Barbecue catered it. They prepared enough food for 3,000 people and had 5,520 sodas.
The MWR committee and Air Department's V-2 division set up the large white tent people sat under, as well as the tables and chairs.
Sailors and shipyard workers ate, talked and listened to the loud music the disc jockey played. Most people agreed it was a good mix of music for the occasion.
"I like the way he mixes it, and the reggae, I like reggae," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuel) 1st Class (AW/SW) Hawa Jenkins.
This event brought people together in a comfortable setting where they could relax and get away from work for a while.
"I think we should do this more often," said Electrician's Mate 1st Class Benny Dunn. "I don't know about everybody else, but I work until 3:30 every day, so it's nice to get away from work every now and then, to have a break, get away from maintenance."
Usually when Navy ships throw a steel beach picnic, it's done underway. This was a unique event because Truman is in the shipyards, and the shipyard workers were able to take part in it. Ship scheduler, Ronald Antonucci believes this had a positive impact on working relations between shipyard workers and Truman Sailors.
"It brings the two work forces together, and I think it improves morale," said Antonucci. "We've all got hard jobs to do and working together makes our jobs easier."
Overall, the picnic had a positive effect on the crew.
"This is perfect," said Jenkins. "By doing this cookout, it tells me they appreciate why we're here." Jenkins added this was a great way to kick off the weekend.
Conerly said everyone who wanted food was fed, and he believes the steel beach picnic was a success. In three months, MWR will throw another party for the crew to get their minds off work for a little while, and show them they are appreciated.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.