USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) took a break from their operational schedule to enjoy a picnic on the ship's flight deck, April 13.
The "steel beach picnic" included a barbecue for more than 4,000 Sailors, a dodgeball tournament, a slam-dunk contest, a water balloon contest, basketball, live music and two golf tee boxes.
"It's a great morale booster for the Sailors because it gives us a reward for all of our hard work and a chance to unwind," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class Jose Bautista.
Volunteers from the ship's chiefs' mess started the food preparation when the grills were lit early in the morning to begin cooking the large meal. The menu included hot dogs, ribs, grilled chicken and hamburgers, pasta salad, assorted fruits, deserts, water and soda.
"Every day, the Sailors are doing things for us; cooking for them gives us a chance to give back," said Chief Information Systems Technician Allen Jones.
Many Sailors found their own entertainment. With plenty of open space on the flight deck, Sailors organized games of soccer and football, while others sat in the sun and socialized.
"It gave me the chance to get outside and meet people who are not in my shop," said Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Matt Murphy. "Also, the break from work was a great plus."
Lincoln is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 9, which also includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and Destroyer Squadron 9, comprised of guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).
CSG 9 and Carrier Air Wing 2, embarked aboard Lincoln, are deployed to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support exercises in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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