USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea -- There was hot food, cold drinks, good friends and football all throughout a United States Navy amphibious assault ship patrolling the Asia-Pacific.
This scene describes the Super Bowl 47 celebration orchestrated by the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and their Navy counterparts with Amphibious Squadron 11, here, Feb. 4.
The Navy’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation office teamed with the Marines and Sailors of the food service to provide a live Super Bowl experience for the ship’s blue/green team on the mess deck, chiefs’ lounge and wardroom. MWR provided the game live via big screen televisions, decorated the area in team colors and provided prizes throughout the game.
The food service crew worked tirelessly, from 6:00 a.m. breakfast through the 8:30 a.m. kickoff to provide popular football foods for the duration of the game. The Marines and Sailors of the mess deck galley alone prepared more than 250 pounds of Buffalo wings, 180 pounds of egg rolls, 100 pounds of cheese sticks, 150 pounds of jalapeno poppers and 300 pounds of breakfast burritos. There was also an assortment of fresh fruits, doughnuts, pastries and ice cream.
“We’re looking to please the customer, just like a regular restaurant,” said Cpl. Matthew W. Rodriguez, a food service specialist with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 31st MEU, and a native of Philadelphia, Penn. “It was great to be able to improve everybody’s experience and maybe lift morale with some good food.”
Throughout the three-hour contest between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, the food remained available as the galley continued to produce and serve the enthusiastic service members. Keeping the food on-hand from kickoff through lunch ensured that nearly everyone was provided an opportunity to partake in the festivities.
“We appreciate the effort from our mess staff and the MWR to bring us a little taste of home while we’re deployed at sea,” said Lance Cpl. Dalton E. Cansler, a rifleman with BLT 1/5, and native of Liberty, Mo.
The 31st MEU and PHIBRON 11 are currently executing their annual Spring Patrol of the Asia-Pacific region, improving theater security cooperation by strengthening ties with allied nations through multi-national training exercises.
“It’s a great thing to give our hard working Marines and Sailors some delicious food and a well-deserved break from the rigors of deployment in order to rejuvenate them for the upcoming exercises,” said Sgt. Maj. Gonzalo “Butch” Vasquez, sergeant major of the 31st MEU and a native of Belize, Central America.
The 31st MEU is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness for the Asia-Pacific region and the Corps’ only continually forward-deployed MEU.