Cooking with Heart

220826-N-OK195-1121 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Aug. 26, 2022) Cmdr. Adam Miller, commanding officer of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103), talks with Culinary Specialist Seaman Fiona Puno about the cake she made for the ship’s Women’s Equality Day celebration, Aug. 26, 2022. The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Porsha Thompson)



Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Porsha Thompson 

Carrier Strike Group 10 

Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Fiona Puno is one of the many recognizable faces aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103). Each day, she works tirelessly to prepare much-needed meals for the ship’s crew.

Born in the Philippines and raised in San Diego, Puno spent countless hours in the kitchen with her mother. By the time she was seven, Puno had learned the basics of Filipino food and cooking for her family had become a daily occurrence.

As Puno got older, she worried about how she would pay for college and support herself. Her uncle, a master chief electrician’s mate, inspired her to seek the financial stability and experiences she desired in the U.S. Navy. When it was time to choose a rate, Puno could think of nothing more fitting than culinary specialist – a chance to both be of service and be creative.

“I loved art growing up,” said Puno. “I’m creative and this is a way for me to express my creativity. I just love what I do.”

Culinary specialists work hard to keep the crew full and happy. Day and night, Puno works to hone her culinary skills and to present them to the ship’s crew with positivity. Puno’s capabilities and hospitality has helped her secure a place as one of the most recognizable culinary specialists aboard Truxtun.

“I know what I do can make their days a little easier,” she said. “Yes, there are hard days. Those are the days that I think of my family and how I promised myself I would make the best of my Navy career.”

Puno designed a cake for a recent ceremony aboard Truxtun. Her show-stopping design was a carefully curated blend of chocolate and vanilla cake, cherries, and chocolate chips. The joy felt by the crew of Truxtun was matched only by Puno’s, as she watched her shipmates enjoy the cake she put so much time and love into.

“Wow, who made the cake?” asked Cmdr. Adam Miller, commanding officer of Truxtun. As the ship’s crew erupted into applause, Puno made her way to the front of the room to receive a personal Bravo Zulu and a photo with Miller.

Puno takes pride in her work and considers herself one of the lucky ones whose passion and profession perfectly align.

“My hobby became my job,” said Puno. “I just want to make people happy and show them that there is still love in the world.”

The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is the flagship of CSG-10, George H.W. Bush CSG. CSG-10 is comprised of George H.W. Bush, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, the Information Warfare Commander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55).

The ships of DESRON 26 within CSG-10 are USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119).

The squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 embarked aboard George H.W. Bush are the “Sidewinders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86, the “Jolly Rogers” (VFA) 103, “Nighthawks” of VFA-136, the “Pukin Dogs” of VFA-143, the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5, and the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46.

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