Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Joseph T. Smith, from Corona, Calif., and Sgt. Tony D. Swartz, from Phoenix, carve turkeys for a Thanksgiving meal aboard USS Rushmore Nov. 26. Food service specialists preparing the meal cooked 30 turkeys to feed the Marines and Sailors deployed with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group.

Photo by Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

Deployed Marines feast afloat

26 Nov 2009 | Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

Service members with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit celebrated Thanksgiving aboard USS Rushmore here Nov. 26.

Food service specialists on the ship began their preparations for the dinner the night before. They cooked nearly 30 turkeys to feed the more than 700 people aboard.

“A lot of people are reminded about their families on holidays like these,” said Lance Cpl. Chris B. Brown, from Panama, Fla. “This meal kind of breaks up the deployment and brings you closer to home.”

To accommodate everyone in the line that extended throughout the ship, the food service personnel continued to prepare food while service members were eating.

“It usually takes an hour to get a dinner ready. I started working this one around breakfast time,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph T. Smith, a food service specialist from Corona, Calif. “It’s the longest time I’ve ever spent on one meal.”

The ship’s galley was filled with all 15 cooks on board, focused on specific tasks to make the entire meal a success.

“Even our chief was in there cooking tonight,” said Sgt. Tony D. Swartz, a Phoenix native.

Swartz said the meal was made entirely from scratch. Little comforts like that boost the morale of Marines and sailors, he said.

“If we didn’t celebrate this day, it would be un-American.”

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit