A Navy Thanksgiving

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 26, 2015) Culinary Specialist 2nd Class David Battle prepares sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner aboard USS Bainbridge (DDG 96). Bainbridge, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, homeported in Norfolk, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Morgan Witten/Released)

Whether your family is big or small, if you’ve ever prepared a Thanksgiving meal you know how much work goes into planning the meal, finding and buying all the ingredients, and finally getting everything cooked so that “miraculously” a feast can be enjoyed by all. An incredible amount of effort to deliver your family a wonderful meal — the thought alone is exhausting!

Now, imagine your family consisted of several hundred or a few thousand family members. If you can wrap your mind around that, you can start to get an idea of the mass effort it takes to give U.S. Navy Sailors and Marines a fitting feast on the celebratory day.

“Our Navy culinarians take great pride in providing the annual Thanksgiving meal and seeing the smiles on Sailors and Marines,” said Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Navy Food Service Director Cmdr. Keith Capper. “We know hard being away from family and friends for our deployed shipmates, and that’s why our culinarians go the extra mile in providing a quality meal to improve morale throughout the fleet on this special occasion.”

Service members celebrate Thanksgiving at sea
GULF OF ADEN (Nov. 26, 2015) U.S. Navy Capt. Sean Bailey (center-left), the commanding officer of the USS Arlington (LPD 24) with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Daniel Coleman (center-right), the commander of troops aboard the USS Arlington with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit cut a turkey aboard the USS Arlington to begin the Thanksgiving Day meal while forward deployed in the Gulf of Aden. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Austin Long/Released)

NAVSUP’s mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of- life support to the Navy and joint warfighter. With headquarters in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP oversees logistics programs in the areas of supply operations, conventional ordnance, contracting, resale, fuel, transportation, and security assistance. In addition, NAVSUP is responsible for food service, postal services, Navy Exchanges, and movement of household goods.

Last year, for 2015, NAVSUP ordered an astonishing amount of food for commands around the world to feed Sailors and Marines a hearty meal and the service culinarians did their best with the menus to try to mimic the comforts of a homemade Thanksgiving dinner. But, no matter how good the food, what can’t be matched is the presence of family sharing the meal.

A snapshot of what it took to feed Sailors and Marines a Thanksgiving meal in 2015. They also consumed: 12,338 lbs. of sweet potatoes, 13,146 lbs. of cornbread stuffing, 6,748 lbs. of corn on the cob, and 1,044 gallons of gravy.

This year as you and your loved ones gather around the dinner table, we respectfully request you take a moment to give thanks for all the servicemembers standing the watch around the globe, spending the holidays away from their families, so their fellow Americans can enjoy them with their family in peace.

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


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