Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Victor Trujillo serves roast beef to a guest during a "big top" reception aboard USS Blue Ridge.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (May 14, 2012) - Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Victor Trujillo serves roast beef to a guest during a "big top" reception aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). "Big Top" receptions are used to develop stronger ties between host nation guests and the 7th Fleet staff. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone)
Culinary Specialists Spice Up Theater Security Cooperation in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia– Culinary specialists assigned to Commander U.S. 7th Fleet helped build international ties by creating a reception for civilian and military guests aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) May 14.

The reception is called a “big top,” where culinary creations are coupled with the U.S. 7th Fleet Band to entertain foreign dignitaries. The culinary specialists host big tops in almost every port Blue Ridge visits, but each one is given a unique touch to make the reception a memorable experience for the guests.

“As culinary specialists, we make sure everyone has everything they need to have a good time,” said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Antonio Arciga. “Attention to detail is the core element to an event like this.”

Capt. Charles Williams, chief of staff for U.S. 7th Fleet, said the big tops are an example of how extra effort on the tactical level can translate into big operational gains and are an opportunity to promote theater security cooperation with key leaders.

“When we came to Indonesia, we held staff talks where we did business as Navy officers. For days, we built on our professional relationship with the Indonesian Navy. With an event like this, we are transforming that business relationship into a personal one, which further expands our professional goals,” said Williams.

The U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, the Honorable Scot Marciel, said he felt the extra effort culinary specialists put into their work would create big results for the region.

“An event like this is really about building relationships with the host nation,” said Marciel. “Over time, events like this translate into stronger relationships in the long term, which translates into long term stability.”

Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward deployed amphibious force. CTF 76 is headquartered aboard White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan; with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan. Blue Ridge is on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations.

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