This article highlights a Navy tradition at sea ...
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Travis S. Alston, USS Enterprise Public Affairs
USS ENTERPRISE, At sea (NNS) (September 9, 2010) -- Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) participated in their first steel beach picnic in more than three years Sept. 3 as the ship was underway conducting work-ups and flight operations.
A steel beach picnic is an outdoor barbecue on the flight deck where Sailors can relax and enjoy some well deserved rest while underway.
It's not uncommon for ships to take time out of their busy schedules to focus on crew morale. Traditions such as picnics, crossing-the-line ceremonies, and captain's cup competitions provide a boost to crews accustomed to working 12- to 18-hour days in demanding environments.
The picnic included ship's company and embarked squadrons' participation in Morale, Welfare and Recreation-sponsored events such as inflatable jousting, volleyball, table tennis, inflatable Sumo wrestling, pie in the eye and a bench-press competition.
Members from MWR, led by the Enterprise's Fun Boss, Brooke A. Newton, played a major role in planning and organizing the event. Newton is a civilian aboard whose job is to provide recreation activities for Sailors.
"This is a ship-wide event and requires all hands to assist," said Newton. "I am planning the recreation side of things as that's my role here aboard the ship. But I have the help of more than 100 volunteers in addition to the Supply Department Sailors to make these things successful."
Supply Department's S-2 Division took on the strenuous task of providing more than 4,200 Sailors and Marines with a feast of traditional barbecue-style entrees consisting of grilled Italian sausage, grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, pasta salad, assorted cookies and brownies.
"The steel beach picnic gave the culinary specialists a chance to show off their skills," said Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW/SCW) Kathryn I. Thompson, the ship's food service production chief. "The majority of our food preparation and services happened the night prior. The CSs prepared more than 2,000 pounds of hot dogs, 3,000 pounds of hamburgers, 500 pounds of onions, and 300 gallons of baked beans."
For some Sailors aboard the ship, this event gave them an opportunity to take a breather and socialize with their peers before the ship's return to homeport.
"We were able to smile, enjoy each other's company and talk about something other than what happened at work," said Chief Aviation Maintenance Administrationman (select)(AW/SW) Courtney A. Kittrell. "It also gives us time to relax after working so hard."
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