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USS Kitty Hawk sailors partake in a Thanksgiving meal that included more than 6,000 pounds of food prepared in 30 menu items.
USS Kitty Hawk sailors partake in a Thanksgiving meal that included more than 6,000 pounds of food prepared in 30 menu items. (Benjamin Dennis / U.S. Navy)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — It was sheer turkey terror. It was a feast most fowl aboard the USS Kitty Hawk on Tuesday.

The Kitty Hawk is the U.S. Navy’s oldest aircraft carrier. At 44 years, it’s not quite as old as the Mayflower, but it’s still given to tradition. As such, being in the middle of the ocean didn’t stop the ship’s complement from having an American Thanksgiving — though the bird came early this year.

The ship is due into port in Hong Kong on Thanksgiving Day proper, so the Kitty Hawk celebrated the holiday Tuesday.

“With 5,300 hungry mouths to feed, the turkeys are running scared on the Kitty Hawk today,” said Kitty Hawk spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Terrence Dudley. “We’re celebrating early because we didn’t want Thanksgiving to interfere with the port visit or to obligate anyone to the ship on a liberty day.”

The galley staff spent most of the night preparing the meal, and decorated all of the ship’s ward rooms and mess halls for the huge meal, he said. To ensure no one would go away hungry, kitchen hours were extended so all stomachs could be distended.

On the menu? Turkey with all the trimmings, of course.

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