Sunday, August 29, 2010

Enterprise's unsung heroes key to operational success

This article is filed under "Somebody has to do the dishes" ...

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristin M. Baker, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- As USS Enterprise (CVN 65) continued work-ups and flight deck operations Aug. 25, the ship's food service attendants (FSAs) proved vital to the operational success of the fleet's largest aircraft carrier.

FSAs are junior Sailors of all rating specialties who work six-month helping trained culinary specialists.

With more than 4,000 Sailors aboard and 13,000 meals to serve each day, the task of feeding the crew is complex and difficult. But with the help of 'Big E' and Carrier Air Wing 1's FSAs, the ship's Supply Department aced the supply management assessment (SMA) and helped the ship pass its tailored ship's training availability and final evaluation period.

The purpose of work-ups is to prepare ships, air wings and strike groups for deployment. Similarly, the SMA is designed to ensure the Supply Department is ready to handle serving an entire ship's crew on a daily basis while deployed for significant periods of time.

FSAs take out the trash, wipe down tables, assist with food preparation in the galleys, clean staterooms and do laundry for the crew.

"It's very rewarding knowing that what we do as FSAs keep the crew going," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Jacques D. Floyd, who leads a team of more than 30 FSAs. "If the crew doesn't eat a good meal in a nice and clean environment, they won't work at the levels required to complete the ship's mission."

Departments throughout the ship and attached squadrons send Sailors to work as FSAs based on manning levels, seniority and the ship's mission. The personnel chosen to fill each FSA billet are selected by their department's chain of command.

"I think the unsung heroes of food service on Enterprise are the food service attendants," said Chief Warrant Officer Shawn M. Porch, Enterprise's food service officer. "We would not be able to offer the services we provide the crew without the hard work and dedication of the FSAs we have."

Sending Sailors to work for a short time in the galley is a long-standing Navy tradition.

"I get to meet a lot of people and learn a lot from everyone I work with," said Deck department's Seaman Nick J. Mahoney, an FSA assigned to the forward mess decks. "Working as an FSA is something I will remember my entire career."

Enterprise is conducting work-ups and flight deck operations in preparation for its upcoming deployment.

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