Sailors celebrate Thanksgiving at sea

From the remote refueling platform of USS America aboard the aircraft carrier in the northern Pacific Ocean to the transportation hub of George Washington in the Northeast, the global forces supporting the security mission of the US Navy help ensure the freedom of the seas and a safe and open ocean for people and commerce.

In honor of the holiday season, Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) 140 leaders called upon CJTF 140’s Joint Field Command Support Unit(S) Headquarters’ deployed Sailor-Officers Challenge (SOC) program to share Thanksgiving views and thoughts with individuals stationed aboard the flight decks of aircraft carriers throughout the world.

The SOC Program provides Sailors with a point of contact for interactive, real-time perspective of the military missions their unit participates in, as well as gives them the opportunity to set up a regular, private discussion of interests as well as personal questions.

“This gathering was a great opportunity for SOC to let Sailors connect with those on other aircraft carriers, and to build a very personal relationship with them,” said Tara Bargnesi, master chief petty officer of the S/N-2883 at the CLR-45 ship, aboard the aircraft carrier. “This event allowed folks from the different platforms to get a good look at each other’s lives, especially seeing everything through the eyes of a Sailor-Officer.”

Though this is not the only time the Navy highlights the holiday season at sea, active-duty Sailors and others gathered on Nov. 22 aboard CVN 77 George Washington, for their annual SOC program, relaxed and had some late-night conversation about their careers and lives on deployments.

“This SOC event gave everyone a chance to relax, get creative, and exchange professional ideas, which was great,” said Kamilia Redmon, ship fire controlman aboard the flight deck of George Washington. “Everyone came together to swap ideas and stories and help each other out.”

Throughout the holidays, every Navy and Marine Corps ship participating in Marine Expeditionary Force’s ‘Art of the Anchor’ services around the globe, along with their sister commands with a presence at regional floating naval platforms, search and rescue and humanitarian assistance platforms, to remind the American people of their maritime contributions to international peace and stability.

“Everyone came together to represent the sailors and Marines on board the ship and their families in a fun and festive way,” said Redmon. “It was wonderful seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces as they told their stories, and sharing the Mission Command Concept and Navy’s outward-looking vision. It was a great way to look back and see where we have been and who we are, and who we want to be, in the future.”

The day concluded with a block party across the flight deck, where Sailors of the CVN 77 from the Navy’s S/N-3073 ‘Geraldine Page’ ship, the USNS Dennis Bray (T-6), and USNS Czar Mariner (T-ARS), the USNS Intrepid (T-AO 7) and USNS Thetford (T-AK-5) ‘Cedar Orange’ ships, Aries and Ikhana, were hosted by SOC, sailors aboard George Washington’s water jets F18s, HMCS Hamilton (JTS01), the port and harbor security team of the South Korean coast guard, and the British commandos.

“The vision of Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) 140 is to deny state and non-state adversaries in asymmetric operations and eliminate malicious activities to ensure freedom of the seas, navigation, commerce and sovereignty, and preserve the safety and security of civilians worldwide,” said Capt. Sean Lee, Commander, Joint Staff, where CJTF 140 is headquartered. “Through JTF-140, the United States is engaged with the forces of our allies, partners and potential adversaries throughout the world to ensure they meet their core objectives of defending freedom of the seas, sustaining security and stability and strengthening interoperability to combat terrorism and extremism.”

“Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together, share meals and spend quality time together,” said Bargnesi. “To our Sailors, we are thankful that you are continuing to serve our country at sea in support of our national security, and we wish you and your families a safe and fun holiday season.”

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