SAN DIEGO – Setting up elaborate table cloths, mood lighting, jazz music, and the ship’s finest dining ware, the First Class Petty Officer’s Association and culinary specialists aboard USS Lassen (DDG 82) host special meals for Sailors’ birthdays, once a month, while underway.
Lassen has been hosting the birthday meals since January 2008.
“All the cooks look forward to it,” said Chief Culinary Specialist Jeffrey Walker. “The crew looks forward to it as a chance to break free from the normal schedule and get served for a change.”
The cooks are more conditioned to making mass quantities of food, so it’s a welcome change of pace to allow them to showcase their culinary skills and get back to the art of making food.
“Outside of watches and other duties, we get a strong turnout of volunteers every month to support the party,” said Master-at-Arms 1st Class (SW) Dustin Alexander, “They come out to support the (culinary specialists) to put on such a great meal.”
All Lassen Sailors, from E-1 to O-4, are invited to attend the meals during their month, and the command master chief and commanding officer attend every meal.
“It’s an opportunity to mingle with individual Sailors in a warm, heartfelt mess deck setting that is every bit as elegant as any wardroom special setting I have experienced,” said Cmdr. Tony Simmons, Lassen’s commanding officer. “But most importantly, for a brief moment, everyone gets a chance to feel that special bond of human commonality that all ranks hold: a birthday.”