A Navy veteran has recently shared photos of moldy food he says sailors and Marines are being forced to eat while at sea. The images have since gone viral, making stomachs churn both with nausea and outrage.
“If you ever wonder what food is like on a US Navy ship. Here it is. The USS Nimitz (CVN 68),” posted Kevin Selfaison. “This is all food that myself or one of my close friends were served. This was served while we were deployed or at sea. Food is one of the only things to look forward to when your out there. This was unacceptable for the men and women putting their lives on the line. I want to bring awareness to this problem. Someone higher up there needs to see this. Military or not, Please share and comment especially if you have your own pictures of horrible food you’ve received while in the military, I know you all got them.”
Selfaison even shared a video of himself aboard the USS Nimitz bouncing a piece of ham off a cafeteria table.
In another video, one of the veteran’s former shipmates “wrings out” an omelette. A pool of grease collects in the plate below.
According to Military.com, Selfaison served on the USS Nimitz from 2017 until 2020, during which time he collected these images. He also asked others to share their own images and videos, and many did. In one video from Navy Master At Arms Thomas Brewer, a man is seen stabbing some rock-hard food on his plate several times before he can snap off a piece.
“I want people to know about this — and I want somebody higher than me to know about this,” Selfaison, a former petty officer second class, told Task & Purpose. “On a ship, if I were to report this, the highest it’s going to go is to our captain. And there’s no way our captain is going to turn around and tell his superior: ‘Hey, the food on my ship is f—ed up;’ because they’re not going to rat on themselves like that.”
A spokesperson for the Navy maintained that galleys and dining facilities are checked regularly for quality.
“We cannot confirm the authenticity of the photos posted by the sailor,” said Lt. Emily Wilkin. “Nimitz was awarded the 2020 Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Food Service Award for best aircraft carrier food service and our standards for cleanliness, service, and food quality are extremely high. The health and wellbeing of our crew is a top priority.”
Wilkin also said sailors and Marines can report any issues through their chain of command or by using one of the suggestion boxes around ships.
Selfaison said such feedback went largely ignored, however. There’s a reason he waited until becoming a veteran to post the images.
“There’s no way it would still be on the internet now if I was still in the military,” Selfaison said. “I would have been forced to take it down.”
The veteran has made it clear, he doesn’t think this is a rare occurrence.
“Always like cold or it’s burnt,” he described the meals on the USS Nimitz. “Or it’s burnt but cold on the inside. Like, it doesn’t make sense.”
He doesn’t think it builds character or a stronger military force, either.
“It all has to do with quality of life,” Selfaison said. “I feel like: When we’re out there, a lot of times all we have to look forward to is a meal — and when that meal is as messed up as some of these meals, it’s messed up. It kills morale.”
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.