USS Jason Dunham Sailors Celebrate Thanksgiving at Sea

USS Jason Dunham Sailors Celebrate Thanksgiving at Sea

Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) celebrated Thanksgiving while underway in the Arabian Sea Nov. 22.

The festivities kicked off with a “Turkey Trot” 5K run in the morning followed by a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on the mess deck.

Seventeen Sailors ran the 5K, which consisted of a track around Jason Dunham’s foc’sle and through amidships.

“The Turkey Trot is a tradition in a lot of cities. I wanted to do something to make Thanksgiving on deployment a little more memorable and feel a little more like home,” said Lt. j.g. Anne Rahall, Jason Dunham’s navigator, who organized the run. “I think everybody really enjoyed the run. A few people asked about setting one up for Christmas too.”

While some Sailors chose to spend the morning getting some rest and relaxation, many took advantage of the Turkey Trot opportunity as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving with shipmates while also getting in his physical training for the day.

“The Turkey Trot was a lot of fun. I had the option of getting a little extra sleep, but I chose to come out and participate in something a little different than my normal PT [physical training] regimen,” said Sonar Technician 2nd Class Christopher Ratley. “I knew I would need to make up for all the calories I would be eating later too.”

Later in the day, Jason Dunham’s culinary specialists cooked and put out a full spread of Thanksgiving must-haves for dinner. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a variety of desserts spanned the length of the mess line, and spilled over to the mess deck. Sailors dined among their shipmates and friends, surrounded by festive decorations.

“Holiday meals are important for the crew,” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Clifton Roberts. “Being away from your family is tough any day, but especially tough around the holidays. The Thanksgiving meal gives them a chance to relax and enjoy a meal like they might have at home, and I’m glad we can be a part of that.”

The crew expressed appreciation for the hard work of the cooks and Jason Dunham’s chief petty officer mess and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, who helped setup and serve the meal.

“The meal was extraordinary. I can tell they put a lot of work into it,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Glenn Hoffman. “I’m really thankful we can have something a little different than the normal chow that makes us feel like it really is a holiday and not just another day underway.”

Jason Dunham is on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

Naval Today Staff, November 27, 2012; Image: US Navy