JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — We are celebrating the big 2-4-5! You don’t hear that number often.
The U.S. Navy turns 245 years old on Oct. 13, and sailors will be celebrating by eating cake. Hundreds of cakes will be served at Navy bases across the country.
First Coast News got a behind the scenes exclusive with the Culinary Specialists who are in charge with making the Navy’s birthday cake, a very important task.
The cake will feed up to 1,000 sailors on shore at Naval Station Mayport.
“Sailors do eat a lot of cake. The dessert is part of the meal," Culinary Specialist First Class Eugene Ward said. "If there is no dessert, then the sailors are upset.”
Ward has made about 15 cakes for the Navy’s birthday over his 17 years of service. This year, he’s getting help from Culinary Specialist Apprentice Laziza Masharipova.
“My goal is to get it as sharp as possible," Ward said.
A cake this size takes about 12 hours from start to finish. Ward says they use about 30 pounds of buttercream frosting.
The base of the cake is moved into the refrigerator to transfer the image onto the cake. The image is made with food coloring and Ward said you need cold, dry air to make sure it transfers. Then, they move on to the finishing touches.
“It’s more than just celebrating a birthday. It’s the meaning behind what we are celebrating," Ward said. "We celebrate our progress, how far we have come in the Navy, and what we have accomplished.”
"It’s a strong community and everyone is here for each other," said Masharipova.
They are serving cake for those who serve our country, including themselves.
Happy birthday Navy!