USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) enjoyed made-to-order steaks provided by the Steak Team Mission during a steel beach picnic on the ship's flight deck Nov. 2.
Steak Team Mission has grilled sirloins for troops all over the world since the organization was founded in 2002 by Harvey Gough, who once ran eight restaurants in Dallas. Gough created Steak Team Mission after the 9/11 teerorist, to show his support for military members. As the Steak Team Mission approaches its 10-year anniversary, it shows no signs of slowing down.
"Just this year we served steak dinners for troops in Honduras, Afghanistan, Korea, Fort Sam Houston and now George H.W. Bush," said Ellen Manzo, a member of the Steak Team Mission.
The non-profit, Dallas-based organization brought their Texas heat to the ship's crew, who devoured the 4,700 steaks and jalapeno-stuffed side dishes - flown all the way from the United States.
"They really cooked up some high-quality steaks for us," said Aviation Electrician's Mate Airman Yunmie Lee, assigned to Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department's IM-3 division. "I think it was an ingenious way to show their appreciation."
No steak lunch is complete without a picnic. Sailors fanned out across the flight deck to soak up the sun and play games like hacky sack, golf and baseball.
"I love the atmosphere up here," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Danielle Koerber, assigned to Deck Department's 1st division. "The weather is perfect for a picnic."
Although the day was all about Sailors taking a break and eating flame-grilled steaks, Steak Team Mission members also appreciated all that they took in during their time aboard the ship.
"I feel rewarded after seeing the ship and hearing about the different jobs everyone has," said Manzo. "Sailors here have been very appreciative, and it's definitely a two-way street. I appreciate and admire them for all they do."
Brock Compton, a member of the Steak Team Mission, said he was thankful for the opportunity to show his support and observe the camaraderie between Sailors.
"There is a family-like bond that exists between Sailors," said Compton. "It's been great to witness the way everyone looks out for one another."
Steak Team Mission's goal during their time on the ship was to boost the morale of the crew and give them an unforgettable experience - a goal that was clearly accomplished.
"These people came all this way on their own dime to serve us steak," said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Naomi Morgan, assigned to Reactor Department's Control division. "That doesn't happen often. I'll definitely remember today as one of the highlights of this deployment."
George H.W. Bush is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on its first operational deployment conducting maritime security operations and support missions as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.