NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — While many are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, many sailors will spend the day aboard their ships.
Only 10 On Your Side boarded the Norfolk-based destroyer the USS Ramage Wednesday as the crew prepared for a big Thanksgiving meal.
The work actually began weeks ago to first get a head count, and then order the food. Last week the team decorated.
Supply officer, Lieutenant Brandy Zehr escorted our Brandi Cummings and photographer Chris Omahen around the ship.
Inside the galley Zehr explained, “This is where the magic happens for Thanksgiving.”
There are 200 pounds of potatoes, 75 pounds of green beans, 30 pies and 160 pounds of turkey to prepare.
“We’re going to have all the normal fixings: stuffing, cranberry sauce, ham, turkey, mac and cheese. It’s going to be great,” Zehr said.
During our visit, the team was busy getting ready for Wednesday lunch as well as Thursday’s dinner.
“So they’ve got their hands full today,” Zehr said.
Culinary Specialist First Class Aaron Smith, also known as the head chef said he’s excited about Thursday, but admitted there’s a little pressure to make things like home.
“Never stressed, always ready,” he laughed.
After all he’s been doing this work for 17 years. Smith told Cummings there’s prep work on and off the ship.
“Ensuring that our families are prepped to know that we may be home late or whatever but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do for the crew,” Smith said.
The total crew of nearly 300 led by Cmdr. Paul O’Brien is training and preparing for an upcoming deployment but being home now makes the holiday special.
During our interview Zehr remembered fellow sailors out to sea.
“We definitely appreciate those that are deployed right now standing the watch so that we can be here right now,” she said.
Zehr told Cummings of the crew on the USS Ramage: “It’s really the best team. It’s a great team and it just means so much to be able to have this meal to kind of celebrate that bond at little bit with them.”
The prep work we saw on the Ramage is also happening on the dozens of ships currently ported in Norfolk and around the world.