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Flying on your stomach: Part 2 in a 3 part behind the scenes series

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Steven Wilson
  • 36th Operations Group Public Affairs
Napoleon once surmised that an army "on its stomach" to what amounted to about 10 - 12 miles a day.

What would he have said about a modern military making a foray from one end of the globe to another?

Meet the men and women who make sure the flying mission can also proceed "on its stomach" 24-hours a day.

"I know we're not the most important part of the mission," said Staff Sgt. Grant Rogers, NCO in charge of the flight kitchen here. "But, I do know we're important in what we contribute."

Sergeant Rogers said the flight kitchen here operates on a 24-hour basis and his Airmen work 12-hour shifts to ensure the mission keeps going.

These Airmen work behind the scenes of the flying mission. While they don't employ weapons on targets, they make sure the people who do are well fed. After all, according to Sergeant Rogers, you can't fly if you're hungry.

"Every aspect of every job in the Air Force plays a part in mission accomplishment," he said. "But, ultimately everyone has to eat."

And when Sergeant Rogers says everyone, that's exactly what he means.
"We made 7,000 meals last month," he said. "We're on track to do that again this month."

But, don't think for one minute Sergeant Rogers and his crew just throw meals in a box.
"I hear the term 'Box Nasty' a lot," he said. "That's a hanger-on from older days. I promise you, everything we make here is fresh. The misconception that we just sit on meals that were thrown together something like three days ago - well, that's just wrong."

Sergeant Rogers said the things that go into the prepared meals are planned out using nutritional guidance that all services specialists are trained on in technical training, career development courses and upgrade training.

He'll be the first to tell you the efforts in the flight kitchen are possible because of a deeply team-oriented atmosphere.

"I have very good (junior ranked) Airmen," he said. "We even have a deployed services team here and they have to all work well together because we're just four people feeding 7,000 (a month).

"If they don't work well together, then we have a mission failure and that's unacceptable," he continued. "I can tell you the general would be calling if the pilots couldn't get food."

Senior Airman Genevieve Leon Guerrero is deployed as part of the Guam Air National Guard. She said she enjoys meeting all the different people that come through the flight kitchen and the challenge involved in preparing so many meals in a short time.

"I love it," she said.

Lt. Col. Thomas Hesterman, 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander, is well aware of the impact Sergeant Rogers' team has on his squadron.

"It's no secret bomber crews sometimes have to fly missions exceeding 20-hours," he said. "I've been in this business for a while, and I can tell you first hand that this flight kitchen has been instrumental in helping us accomplish our continuous bomber presence mission. We sincerely appreciate the job they do and its importance to the success of our deployment."

For Sergeant Rogers, it's all just part of the job and his team is dedicated to it.
"Part of the passion I have for what I do is knowing the impact we have," Sergeant Rogers said. "If the maintainer doesn't eat, the plane doesn't get fixed. If the pilot doesn't eat, the plane doesn't fly. Everyone from the air traffic controller to the guy fixing the radar - they all have to eat and we're providing that service."

The flight kitchen here directly supports the continued bomber presence on Guam, thus helping deter and dissuade any potential aggressor in the Western Pacific.

Stay tuned for the next article in the behind the scenes series.

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