NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- One could hardly tell the difference between the meal enjoyed by USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) duty personnel and that served in private homes throughout Hampton Roads, Va., as the several-hundred-strong combined duty section sat down to a holiday feast Christmas Day.
Carl Vinson's duty section rotates to keep at least one quarter of the ship's crew on board to protect "America's Favorite Aircraft Carrier," and to handle emergencies and contingencies.
According to Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Glenn Mallo, who attended the feast to break bread with his shipmates, the meal appropriately reflected the quality of the crew.
"What we have is a world-class aircraft carrier manned by top-notch Sailors," said Mallo. "We deserve the best, and as always, we came together to deliver it."
Sailors enjoyed a holiday spread with a variety of vegetables and fruits, a fully decorated ginger bread house, platters of shrimp, and sweet desserts, all topped by a succulent turkey. The casual four-person tables used daily by Carl Vinson Sailors came alive with holiday decorations and garnished dishware.
"Preparation for the meal came at midnight the day prior," said holiday galley watch captain, Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Catherine Lakel. "Everyone came in with a great attitude to serve a five-star meal to the duty section. We wanted the dinner to be at least equal to - but hoped for better than - a fine meal at home. We hope everyone enjoyed it."
Finding smiling faces amidst hungry Sailors, as they piled food onto plates was easy, said Navigation Department's Leading Chief Petty Officer, Senior Chief Operations Specialist(SW/AW) Dwayne Wright. According to Wright, the spread was the best he had ever seen since the joining the military; it resembled a formal dining experience.
Wright's comments were echoed by other Carl Vinson duty Sailors who understood their need to defend the ship and appreciated the meal.
"Someone's got to stand duty on the holidays," said Machinist Mate 3rd Class (SW) Daniel Ellison. "I guess this year it's my turn. I'm still grateful to be with people on the holiday, and the food just seems to bring us closer together."
USS Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.
For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.