ARTICLE BY: Capt. Wilmer Sosa, CAP

Brownwood, TX – June 22-28, 2015 – The day of a Food Service Warrior begins long before most other cadets wake for the morning physical training. When others are just opening their eyes to begin the day, the Food Service Warriors have already put in hours of work over hot stoves making each meal the best it could be. The cooks and servers of Camp Bowie are truly the “unsung heroes” of the Texas Wing.

The Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte once said of the Grande Armée, “Une armée marche sur son estomac” – ”An army marches on its stomach,” still applied to the modest encampment on the outskirts of Brownwood.

No matter how physically strong or technologically advanced theCivil Air Patrol is, everyone must eat. The same is true for the Texas Wing cadets at Camp Bowie. Training cannot happen if cadets are hungry or thirsty.

Our Food Service Warriors and the senior members tasked with the 2015 Texas Wing Summer Encampment food services ensured every participant received three meals a day to keep their bodies healthy and strong for the demanding training. The preparation of the food is about the fundamentals of food service: preparing things to a standard, the right way and on time. Teamwork put the Food Service Warriors over the top. Itcould not be done by just one cadet or senior member; it is a complete team effort.

Seasoned Encampment veterans don’t refer to the place where they eat as a “mess hall.” In modern Air Force lingo, it’s a DFAC (pronounced DEE-fack) or Dining FACility. The Food Service Warrior has a culinary pedigree.

“Cadets still call the food ‘chow,’ and they still wait in ‘chow lines’ to be served,” said Cadet Master Sgt. Amari Abram from the East Houston Composite Squadron, (SWR-TX-808).

Breakfast lunch and dinner were served in accordance with a seven day master menu. The Food Service Manager,senior members and cadets shared responsibility for proper nutrition at Camp Bowie. They devoted themselves to ensuring each basic cadet received the healthy and tasty food needed to sustain training. “The Texas Wing Encampment served approximately 1,400 meals during the long week training to sustain the average 272 cadets and their instructors. The portion size of each item is controlled to ensure every cadet receives a daily amount of calories, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and water needed to keep their bodies properly fueled throughout training. Apart from spices for flavoring, no food served in the DFAC is enhanced with added vitamins, minerals or chemicals.

“Our cadets will never go without a meal,” said 1st Lt. Rosalinda P. Osborne (SWR-TX-026), Food Service Operation staff.

“There aren’t many times that we are seen, since we work in the background. Some cadets and staff think we have it easy but it is tough. The dining facility is a very high stress environment, with a lot going on, said Cadet 2nd Lt.Philip Turney (SWR-TX-351), OIC of cadets. “This kitchen is our battlefield every day, it can be very challenging to meet the needs of so many cadets but we all love our job and I wouldn’t want to do any other job in Encampment,”

“The biggest challenge,” 2nd Lt. Melissa B. Griner (SWR-TX-455), Food Service Operation staff said, “was providing a variety of food and serving the cadets in a timely manner.” It’s not just about the food. It’s a full dining experience,” she continued. “A lot of these young cadets are here for the first time away from home, and we try to make this like their home cooked meal, where they can sit down and enjoy a relaxing meal away from training. You’re only as good as the last meal you served!”

“This week our performance was excellent. This staff always does an excellent job,” said Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Samuel J. Kittlitz (SWR-TX-413), Food Service Sergeant, from the Nighthawk Composite Squadron.

The theme for the Dining Facility was Serving Our Leaders. By attending the Texas Wing Encampment, the basic cadets and the staff have displayed leadership, faith in God, patriotism, and adherence to the Civil Air Patrol core values.

“The beginning of Food Service during encampment was a long and difficult journey’, said Cadet Senior Airman Lillian M. Carpenter (SWR-TX-087), Food Service Warrior, “I was constantly learning and expanding my knowledge. The mentoring from senior members was crucial for my tasks during encampment. This is the kind of work that I like to do, that I want to do. I want to be here, because you are always learning. You can never say that you know it all. There is always a new way or a shorter way, or somebody works it different, or making a difference to serve the cadets better.”

Whether they pursue a career in the military, government, politics or the corporate business world, everything started with the Civil Air Patrol; a great place to become ingrained with the qualities that lead to success; teamwork, discipline and service. We are very proud of each one of the cadets and the senior members that who gave of their time to lead the way.



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TX-179 Thunderbird Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol

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