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From left to right, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr.; Commander,
Carrier Strike Group Nine, Rear Admiral Patrick Hall; and Commanding Officer, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Capt. Christopher Bolt cut the Carrier Cake at the 2014 RIMPAC Reception. (Photo by LS1 Merlyn Valdez)
After months of coordination and planning, the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Supply Department showed what teamwork, attention to detail, and hard work can accomplish by hosting the 2014 Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) Closing Reception. Less than 48-hours after the hangar bays were filled with aircraft, they were transformed into a carpeted reception hall filled with multi-national food displays, ice sculptures, a performance stage, and ornate decorations from the participating countries. In attendance were 2,200 guests from 22 nations to include sixty-six flag and general officers including Commander, Pacific Command; Commander, Pacific Fleet; and Commander, Third Fleet.
The transformation started with around the clock work by the Material Control and HAZMAT divisions upon arrival pier side. While many members of the crew enjoyed the tropical beaches of Waikiki, these logistics professionals, along with their counterparts in Air Department, cleared the hangar bays of aircraft and retrograde materials from the previous 24 days underway. They loaded and set-up all of the equipment for the event. In parallel, the Food Services and Wardroom divisions were feverishly at work on decorations, procuring necessary food and supplies, and preparing the menu for the event. Along with these internal preparations, select Supply Department chief petty officers and junior officers were providing diplomatic as well as logistical support to the eleven partner nations providing exhibits.
The event coordinator, Lt. Casey Gillette, the Principal Assistant for Services, led with the RIMPAC motto of being “Adaptive, Cooperative, Partners.” It took an immense amount of coordination from Commander, Naval Air Forces, Afloat Policy, Training, and Inspections; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Security Department; Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center, Pearl Harbor; and Commander, Third Fleet, Protocol Office. His efforts resulted in a seamless and exciting day for both guests and the Reagan hosts. The smells of exotic food and fresh tropical flowers spread throughout the hangar bays. The varied menus included barbeque crocodile and emu, Indian curry, Mexican beans and rice, Hawaiian luau roasted pig and traditional American brisket. Along with the amazing variety of delicious foods, performances were made by the Reagan Color Guard, the Pacific Fleet Rock Band, and cultural dance and music exhibits by the participating nations.
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USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Ship’s Servicemen and Indian Navy Sailors enjoying the reception. (Photo by REAGAN Graphics Media Department)
Capt. Christopher Bolt, Commanding Officer, articulated to all guests a tried-and-true Reagan motto, “life is a team sport.” He used the RIMPAC reception as an illustration of how the multi-national coalition came together throughout the exercise to accomplish an array of mission sets. By embracing differences, capitalizing on strengths, and extending genuine trust, every nation was able to come together to address and overcome the challenges set before them. Not surprisingly, the guests were amazed by the ship’s transformation and compared it to large convention centers around the world. Chief Culinary Specialist Felipe Gonzalez, Wardroom Leading Chief Petty Officer, captured the sentiments of all involved by saying, “the look on everyone’s faces was worth a thousand words. The gratitude from the guests to the sailors working the reception made the pain from endless preparation go away. The Sailors were so proud of what they had accomplished and grateful that their hard work was recognized by those in attendance.”
By Lt.j.g. Rhett Barker, SC, USN, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)