Sailors aboard USS Abraham Lincoln celebrate Thanksgiving

Sailors on the USS Abraham Lincoln had a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving 2017. This included a big meal. (Credit: WAVY/Kara Dixon).

NORFOLK,  Va. (WAVY) –Sailors serving onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln were able to still celebrate Thanksgiving despite being away from home.

Chefs prep 18,000 meals for a crew of 5,000 sailors on the Lincoln on a daily basis. On Thursday, they cooked more than 600 pounds of turkey, 400 pounds of beef, 75 pounds of ham, and 48 pounds of cranberry sauce for  more than 500 sailors and their families.

The locally based aircraft carrier returned to Naval Station Norfolk in mid-September following a relief missing to hurricane-battered Florida.

Gallery: USS Abraham Lincoln Irma Response

Navy officials provided a tour Thursday of the Mess Deck and a sneak peek of their Thanksgiving menu. The meals took weeks to plan and days to cook but it’s something many have grown accustomed to doing.

“Every year is different. Every year is a fun challenge we love to accept,” said CS 2 Derhon Finch. The ship provided the meals to stand in the place of a regular home cooked holiday meal.

Related: Norfolk-based USS Ramage prepares for Thanksgiving

“For the individuals on board,we’re trying to give them a little piece of home they can’t get right now,” said CS 1 Kopczinsky.

While these sailors weren’t able to make it home, many say they were thankful to be surrounded by their Navy family.

“Without joining, I wouldn’t have met all these people and had the opportunities I have today,” said CS Daijona Hendrick.

Alongside the culinary specialists, officers also served food.

“I just want to be with the sailors and serve the sailors because they do so much for us,” said Command Master Chief Jim Stedding. Officers thanked the sailors and families for their support and their sacrifices that allow us to celebrate Thanksgiving.

“Think about the freedoms we share because a lot of people served before you in this nation. You are doing the same thing, serving with that legacy and making our nation great,” said Captain Putname Browne.