Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tenbergen “adopts” USS Halsey

In support of the Naval Supply Systems Command's (NAVSUP) “Adopt-A–Ship” program, Klaus Tenbergen, Culinology Program director and assistant professor from California State University, Fresno, recently participated in a week-long at-sea session mentoring and training mess management specialists stationed aboard USS Halsey (DDG-97) (pictured right).

Halsey is the 47th ship in the Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) Class of Aegis guided missile destroyers--the U.S. Navy’s most powerful destroyer fleet. These highly-capable, multi-mission ships can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of National Military Strategy.

A crew of approximately 300 officers and crewmembers operate the 509.5-foot, 9,300-ton ship, so quality foodservice and well-balanced meals are vital to providing a higher quality of life to the sailors, both ashore and afloat. The Adopt-A-Ship program furthers industry and Navy quality-of-life objectives by facilitating the transfer of knowledge and capabilities from chefs like Tenbergen.

Tenbergen (pictured left) was welcomed onboard by Halsey’s Commander Robert E. Beauchamp and Leo Ochoa, LT, SC, USN, Supply Officer, and presented with a ship’s ball cap. Although on board for just a week, Tenbergen was welcomed as part of Halsey’s crew and given an opportunity to teach and learn from the crew.

“The program creates opportunities for industry chefs to mentor part of our nation's fighting force, and my experience was very rewarding and gratifying,” Tenbergen said in a recent press release.

As Tenbergen observed, the demands placed on the U.S. Navy's Culinary Specialists (CSs) are nearly non-stop. A normal day consists of preparing for breakfast at 0500 or earlier depending on the ship’s operational commitments. At the conclusion of each meal, CSs begin preparing for the following meal while in many cases balancing professional shipboard training outside of their rate, such as damage control and fire fighting training.

Adopt-A-Ship promotes the culinary profession within the military foodservice community and the professional image of Navy foodservice to the civilian foodservice community. Chefs can determine the amount of time they participate in the program. They schedule training based on the compatibility of their schedule with the ship's schedule. Hands-on training objectives include food preparation techniques, on-line plating and presentation.

The length of service is determined by the ship’s schedule and the needs of the volunteer--there is no monetary remuneration for offering culinary knowledge. Klaus Tenbergen invested over 200 volunteer hours into this program.
Klaus Tenbergen (center) poses with some Culinary Specialists aboard the USS Halsey

For more information about the “Adopt-A-Ship” program or to volunteer, contact
Chef Michael Harants, CEC, CCE, AAC, corporate chef/chef-instructor, Navy Family Support, at (717) 605-6323 or michael.harants@navy.mil.