USS Harry S. Truman, At Sea (NNS) -- Deployed Sailors and Marines on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) came together and gave thanks for their many blessings Nov. 25.
Although the crew is not able to celebrate this joyous holiday with family and friends back home, many found it fitting to spend the day with Shipmates they have grown close to during the past six months.
"If I can't be with my family, there's not anyone else I'd rather spend this Thanksgiving with," said Cmdr. Bill Bulis, Truman's Air Boss, who helped carve roast beef on the mess decks. "I'm thankful for everybody who contributes to our mission every day. Helping out today gives me a chance to give back to the crew and thank them for the work they do."
Special events during the day included an inter-faith service in the hangar bay, cigars on the fantail, a full Thanksgiving feast on the forward and aft mess decks, and an ice-cream social.
"Our culinary specialists and food service assistants (FSAs) have been working very hard to make this feast come together today," said Aviation Electrician's Mate Second Class (AW/SW) Jelissa Broadbelt, temporarily assigned duty as leading mess decks master-at-arms.
The Thanksgiving meal included traditional holiday staples such as turkey, ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and plenty of cakes and pies.
"We started putting together all this food yesterday, and we haven't stopped preparing it," said Machinist's Mate Fireman David LaPoint, serving as a food service attendant. "We've been pretty busy, but it feels great to pass out the food and see our Shipmates reactions. It feels like we are all one big family."
Crew members were quick to express their appreciation for the hard work that went into making the day special.
"I am very grateful to the CSs and FSAs for creating this delicious meal for us," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate [Handling] Airman Jacob Guppy, from Air Department's V-1 division. "They took a lot of time out of their day preparing all this food."
"Seeing all the smiles on everyone's face was very rewarding," added Ship's Serviceman Second Class (SW/AW) Frank Joyner, President of the Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA), who organized the cake-and-ice cream social on the aft enlisted mess decks. "This was a day to give back to the crew."
Officers and chiefs chose to express their thanks to the crew for the hard work they do every day by either helping serve the dinner or by volunteering to serve in the sculleries as part of the "FSA for a Day" fundraiser sponsored by Truman's Junior Enlisted Association (JEA).
"Thanksgiving is all about family and friends," said Capt. Joe Clarkson, Truman's Commanding Officer (CO). "More people get together with their loved ones for Thanksgiving than they do for most of the other holidays. Right now our family is our Truman family. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be the Captain here and very thankful for the great work of all the Sailors and Marines on board."
The "FSA for a Day" fundraiser was a great success and raised $4,229, money that will be divided between the Combined Federal Campaign, Truman's Family Readiness Group homecoming party, and future JEA projects, said Hospital Corpsman Third Class Anthony Miller, a member of the JEA.
"Junior personnel do a great job taking care of us and I feel this is a way we can show them our appreciation," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate [Fueling] (AW) Matthew Purham, Air department's V-4 divisional LCPO.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.