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    Ronald Reagan celebrates Thanksgiving in the Philippine Sea

    USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Sailors prepare Thanksgiving feast

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Oswald Felix Jr. | 221124-N-BR419-1049 PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 24, 2022) Capt. Daryle Cardone, left,...... read more read more



    Story by Seaman Apprentice Dallas Snider 


    PHILIPPINE SEA – More than 4,800 Sailors celebrated Thanksgiving aboard the U.S. Navy’s only forward deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), while underway in the Philippine Sea, Nov. 24.
    This year’s feast consisted of 2,700 pounds of turkey, 900 pounds of prime rib, 700 pounds of ham, 360 quarts of eggnog, 16 whole pigs, 2,880 pieces of pies, 2,560 pieces of cheesecake, 6,000 diner rolls and all the Thanksgiving fixings including mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, candied sweet potatoes and corn on the cob.
    The preparation of a Thanksgiving meal for nearly five-thousand Sailors is no minor task. It comes down to 24 hours of work that is planned out weeks in advance. The culinary specialists begin cooking the day before and continue into the night to finish the meal preparations. Culinary specialists, food service attendants and hotel service members all come together to organize, cook, serve and display the extravagant traditional meal.
    “I would normally be at home with my husband hosting our family for Thanksgiving,” said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Rechele Crawford, from Bremerton, Washington. “Instead I will be cooking here, and putting the love I would normally be giving to my family into the food I am giving everyone aboard. We are all going to be missing our families and it will be important for us to be giving our support to each other.”
    The hard work and preparation that went into making Thanksgiving dinner was appreciated by Ronald Reagan Sailors.
    “Today was hard to be away from family, but the food was exquisite and I was surrounded by people who support me and understand the struggles of an underway Thanksgiving,” said Hospitalman Anastasia Levitski, from Tuscan, Arizona.
    Dinner was served by members of Reagan’s leadership throughout the night.
    “They went out of their way to make sure that everyone can have a Thanksgiving dinner,” said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Airman Isaias Rodriguez, from Cleveland. “Everybody was able to enjoy everyone else’s company and we had our chain of command to serve us. That’s a blessing.”
    Dozens of Sailors volunteered this Thanksgiving to serve the holiday meal to their shipmates who supported the ship’s mission during Thanksgiving.
    “I am going to get people together and make plates for the people who have to work during dinner,” said Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class Onisha Simmons, from Gonzales, Louisiana. “I don’t want them to think that they go unseen or unappreciated.”
    Thanksgiving at sea reminded Sailors like Personnel Specialist Seaman Lee Byron of why they serve.
    “I have always been at home for Thanksgiving with my parents,” said Byron, from Norfolk. “It hurts not being with them, but I am here making a difference for my country and my family understands that.”
    Although Sailors are away from their families this Thanksgiving, they continue to rely on each other for comfort and reasons to celebrate during the holiday meal.
    “There are people who are going to feel alone today,” said Byron. “We just have to try to make the best out of it. Enjoy it with the people that you do have.”
    Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the United States, and supports Alliances, partnerships and collective maritime interests in the Indo-Pacific region.



    Date Taken: 11.24.2022
    Date Posted: 11.24.2022 15:50
    Story ID: 433967
    Location: PHILIPPINE SEA

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