Arabian Gulf - The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) hosted Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus for the Thanksgiving holiday while the ship was deployed in the Arabian Gulf.
Before helping serve Thanksgiving dinner and dining with the crew on the enlisted mess decks, Mabus held an all hands call in the hangar bay where he reminded them just how powerful the Navy is and the importance of their presence is in the Arabian Gulf.
"Your role here is what the Navy and Marine Corps uniquely bring to America, which is presence," said Mabus, who last visited Ike less than a year ago while the ship was still in its pre-deployment work-up schedule. "Being not just in the right place at the right time, but in the right place all the time. Our Naval assets get on station faster, we stay longer and, because we are operating from sovereign American territory, we don't have to ask any other country for permission to get the job done."
Mabus also spoke about the "Four Ps," power, presence, partnerships and people, the principals that have guided his administration throughout his time as SECNAV. He also congratulated the crew on their service during their deployment.
"This is an away team; we never get a home game," Mabus said. "We don't want a home game, and doing your job out here you're a long way from home. The American people don't get to see how hard the jobs are we ask you do every single day. Right now we have the best force we have ever had and the greatest Navy the world has ever seen."
In closing, Mabus fielded questions from the crew on topics including recruiting, rating modernization, the future of the Navy and his own personal experiences during his tour as SECNAV. Afterwards, he spent time taking photos and talking individually with the ship's crew.
Though far from home, the crew enjoyed a special Thanksgiving meal and made the most of the holiday while being separated from loved ones. In total, Supply department's S-2 division prepared 4,950 pounds of turkey, 1,050 pounds of ham, 1,200 pounds of beef tenderloin, 648 pounds of shrimp cocktail, 7,000 portions of mashed potatoes, 400 pies and 200 cheesecakes.
Ike, embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, and the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) are deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.