ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- A new addition recently forged its footprint upon the aft mess decks aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in the form of a first class petty officer mess, April 5.
Abraham Lincoln’s First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA) came together to build a common space, open to all first class petty officers, to call their own and to inspire junior Sailors to achieve the rank of first class.
“For me, it is something for Sailors to strive to be a part of,” said Yeoman 1st Class Lawrence J. Anderson, acting president of the FCPOA. “Let them come hang out with you, with us. ‘Aspire to inspire’ as Command Master Chief James Stedding said at the grand opening of the mess.”
Being promoted from E-5 to E-6 is an attainable goal that many Sailors strive to accomplish. This goal is reinforced visually through a first class mess.
“It’s somewhere we can come together and find fellowship with the other first classes,” said Hull Technician 1st Class Robert J. Paasch, a member of the FCPOA Cabinet. “Being that we are like a family, I wanted a physical location to call our own.”
This exclusive mess also gives first class petty officers somewhere to bounce ideas off each other to build more as leaders.
“The mess is a space where first classes can discuss first class concerns, such as how to setup junior Sailors for success,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 1st Class Justin King, treasurer of the FCPOA.
With Abraham Lincoln underway, it was challenging for the fellow firsts to get certain aspects of the project up and running to complete the approximately 900 square feet space.
“The biggest challenge was getting the metal,” said Anderson. “Once we got the metal, the next issue was fabricating everything while the ship went through rough seas. It might not feel like a lot when you are walking around, but a small bump or shift in the frame had ripple effects while building the mess.”
With multiple departments involved, coming together to complete the mess was took diligent coordination.
“It was like getting something back that was lost during Refuel and Complex Overhaul [the ship’s midlife maintenance period],” said Hull Technician 1st Class Timothy Jakubisin. “Seeing us come together was rewarding, and I got to teach some people some aspects of my rate. That within itself was rewarding.”
Hull Technicians 1st Class Mitchell Reaves and Jakubisin, the primary welders of the mess, planned for constructing obstacles and made the appropriate corrections before they became a major issue.
“Through hard work and team work, the first classes of the Abraham Lincoln became more of a cohesive unit and made their working relationships stronger by making ‘getting the job done’ easier,” said Chief Electrician’s Mate (Nuclear) Donald Peeples, a mentor for the FCPOA.
Completing a project can be one of the most satisfying things, especially after overcoming obstacles and months of planning.
“The most rewarding thing was the journey,” said Anderson. “Those four days with my brothers and sisters, building the mess, helped us to build strong bonds between each other and really united the mess. It was an amazing experience that I will remember for the rest of my career.”
Abraham Lincoln is underway as part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group deployment in support of maritime security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. With Abraham Lincoln as the flagship, deployed strike group assets include staffs, ships and aircraft of Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG 12), Destroyer Squadron 2 (DESRON 2), USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) and Carrier Air Wing 7 (CVW 7); as well as Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate ESPS Méndez Núñez (F 104).
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.