Bonhomme Richard Sailors Relax During Steel Beach Picnic
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Lacordrick Wilson, Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs
USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea - Sailors and Marines aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) took the day off from daily operations to enjoy a steel beach picnic on the flight deck Sept. 30.

A steel beach picnic is an outdoor barbecue that gives crew members a chance to relax and enjoy food, music and recreational games while underway.

"This event is an opportunity for the chain of command to show that they do appreciate the hard work of the Sailors and Marines aboard," said Amy Joe Jenkins, fun boss and head of Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) for Bonhomme Richard.

Culinary specialists and food service attendants took on the task of preparing barbecue-style entrees including baked beans, chicken, hotdogs, hamburgers and ribs. While the Bonhomme Richard First Class Petty Officers Association grilled for more than 2,000 Sailors and Marines during the event.

"We had to prepare and cook over 1,900 pounds of food for this event," said Chief Culinary Specialist Lieana Angeleen Ng. "There was a lot hard work preformed not only by my culinary specialists but also by those who helped today, and I'm proud to say that it was a job well done."

The picnic also included games and events such as corn hole, ladders, a football toss, putt-putt and a bench press competition hosted by MWR.

"This occasion allows for all hands to come together as a family of one," said Electrician's Mate 1st Class Miguel Hylton, hydraulic shop leading petty officer. "Not only does this help build camaraderie, but it also gives the crew a chance to relax and enjoy the environment."

Part of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative is to help service members manage stress and maximize personal readiness and events such as this help ensure that Sailors and Marines are given time to relax so that they can continue to work effectively.

"Being able to be on the flight deck and feel the breeze while enjoying some food is really refreshing," said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Stephanie Fata. "Having a day off to relax while underway makes me feel that our hard work hasn't gone unnoticed."

Bonhomme Richard, commanded by Capt. Daniel Dusek, is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed amphibious ready group and is currently operating in the 7th Fleet Area of Operations
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