Military Monday: Giving Thanks

November 24, 2017
INDIAN OCEAN (Nov. 23, 2017) Sailors gather on the mess decks for Thanksgiving dinner aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88). Preble is conducting maritime security, forward presence and theater security operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Morgan K. Nall/Released) 171123-N-IA905-2018

As Americans, we have countless reasons to be thankful during Thanksgiving celebrations.  Most of us will spend the holiday weekend enjoying time with friends and families, watching parades with elaborately decorated floats and cheering for our favorite football teams, but not all Americans are able to take part in the festivities. Some of these fathers, mothers, daughters, sons and siblings serving in the United States Navy and the Surface Force will be standing the watch around the globe so those at home can enjoy their peace and prosperity.

We can, and should, be grateful to these Sailors and for the safety of our seas and commerce, the defense of our country, and for our civil liberties they help protect.  Some of them will take time off to join their families for the holiday, and we can be grateful for that too, but our true thanks should be given to those who will not be spending their Thanksgiving at home. No, instead, these selfless and brave warfighters will spend their holiday aboard ships, manning our installations, or deployed to foreign lands. While they will be missed, the sacrifices they make for our country and for our freedom they protect is something for which every man, woman, and child can be grateful.

Thanksgiving aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)
SASEBO, Japan (Nov. 24, 2017) Cmdr. Rich LeBron, executive officer, serves Sailors a Thanksgiving meal aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard, forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, is serving forward to provide a rapid-response capability in the event of a regional contingency or natural disaster. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron McCulloch/Released) 171123-N-RU971-076

This sacrifice, though necessary, is not lost on Navy leaders.  Around the globe, commands will host their own Thanksgiving Day celebrations and offer the best shipboard comfort cuisine the military has to offer.  These events, though appreciated by the crew, are about more than just delivering a special meal – it’s the comfort and solace that comes along with those juicy slices of turkey, stuffing covered in gravy, and sides of cranberry sauce; it’s a slice of normal. If you’ve participated in preparing a family thanksgiving meal, you know it involves meticulous planning and preparation as well as perfect execution in order to make sure everything turns out just right and right on time.

So, what does it take to for the Surface Force to feed the more than 19,000 Sailors deployed protecting and defending our freedom?  Well, it takes a lot.  According to the Naval Supply System Command’s estimate, the culinary specialists and their food service attendants were responsible for the preparation and serving of approximately:

15,000 pounds of turkey                      5,200 pounds of mashed potatoes

1,200 pounds of corn                           1,300 pounds of green been casserole

1,000 pounds of cranberry sauce        4,000 pounds of ham

3,000 pounds of sweet potatoes          2,900 pounds of stuffing

2,500 pounds of gravy                         1,500 pounds of shrimp

3,000 pounds of eggnog         and       1,000 pies…

All of this, just to give you a little taste and home and as a heartfelt Thank You for your service.

For all you brave Surface Force Sailors on the high seas, know that although you cannot be at home, you are missed, and as we pick our turkey legs clean, raise another glass of eggnog, and indulge in just one more slice of pie this holiday, we’re thinking of you.

From all of us at Naval Surface Forces, Happy Thanksgiving!


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