PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) held a ribbon and cake-cutting ceremony Aug. 23 to celebrate the aft mess decks' and galley's grand re-opening.
The mess decks and galley were closed for the first part of Truman's Docked Planned Incremental Availability, or DPIA, period.
Truman's commanding officer, Capt. Herman Shelanski and second-youngest Sailor, Aviation Boatswain's Mate Airman Recruit Miguel Agimudie, cut the ribbon signifying the re-opening of the mess decks.
A lot of hard work went into getting the mess decks and galley ready to serve food again. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andrew Nguyen, Truman's food service officer, said it took two weeks of cleaning and around 4,000 man-hours. Nguyen said he is pleased with his dedicated Sailors.
"I'm very satisfied with the outcome. The whole supply department pulled together to help bring up the mess deck operation," said Nguyen. "They have done an outstanding job, and they have put in long hours and I have heard no complaints at all."
Shelanski recognized some of these outstanding supply department Sailors during the cake cutting. Representatives from divisions S-2, S-5 and S-11 gathered around the carrier-shaped cake and cut it with Shelanski.
One of the Sailors whom Shelanski recognized was Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Jerry Fore. He said it is a refreshing feeling to be recognized for all the hard work he and his coworkers did. He said it's also a good feeling to have the mess decks back to the way they were.
"This is the moment we've been waiting for," said Fore. "Everything is back up. We're back into the regular routine."
Fore said the hard part of getting the mess decks up and running was remembering where everything goes.
While the mess decks were closed Sailors had the choice of bringing a lunch; eating on the barge mess decks; or buying food from the mobile canteens, ship store, or the various vending machines. Many Sailors are very happy to return to eating on the mess decks.
"It's better, a lot better. It's a lot more convenient," said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class (SW) Michael Ellis. "There's more of a choice, more of a diversified menu."
For Sailors who can remember what the menu was like before the mess decks closed, Nguyen said it would remain pretty much the same except for a few changes made based on the inputs from the menu review board meetings.
The forward mess decks are still under renovation but are expected to be back up and running in November when the air wing comes aboard.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.