Auxiliary Chefs Participate in Tradewinds 2012 in Barbados

Thursday, February 21, 2013


AUXCHEFS—Paulette Parent and Toni Borman ready to serve in Barbados for Tradewinds 2012.  Photo taken by: Auxiliary member Brian McArdle.

The list of countries sounded more like an itinerary for a 2 week Caribbean cruise, but that was definitely not the case. Military units of member nations of the Regional Security System (RSS) had gathered in Barbados, West Indies to train together in security and other challenges facing the region. Participating nations included Barbados, Antigua, Barbada, Grenada, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, St. Kitts, Dominica, the Bahamas, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad, Tobago, the United States and Canada.

Article by Auxiliarist Paulette R. Parent, Sarasota, FL

So what was the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s role in this exercise? Some members manned an Auxiliary communication unit on a 24-hour basis throughout the exercise providing a link among the various units. Other Auxiliary members served as interpreters for participants.  The Auxiliary Chefs (AUXCHEFs) arrived in Barbados at Pelican base and saw our “galley” for the first time. All the food would be prepared in an outdoor kitchen known as a MKT (Mobile Kitchen Trailer).

AUXCHEFs working with active duty counterparts in Barbados. Photo taken by: Auxiliary member Brian McArdle.

To me it looked like a cross between a mobile hot dog stand and a pop-up camper. Surprisingly, the MKT proved to be rather efficient in providing breakfast and dinner for about 120 people throughout the exercise. Two teams provided breakfast and dinner with a U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant in charge of one team and a U.S. Army Sergeant in charge of the other team. There were three cooks and three servers persons per team.

All meals were carried in insulated containers into the mess deck. The AUXCHEFs were mainly responsible for preparing the serving line, making beverages, putting hundreds of water bottles consumed each day on ice and washing the various pots and utensils used to pre-pare the meals.

Naturally, sanitation was a primary concern and the AUXCHEFs maintained the cleanliness of the serving area and eating area. The AUXCHEFs helped prepare some of the food. This proved to be a real education as all of the food was canned, powdered or dehydrated or a combination of all of these.

If you are thinking I forgot about lunch, well that is a whole different story. We were introduced to Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) which are prepared boxed meals. They were self-heating using a chemical reaction after adding water to a heater pouch. It was quite an experience and not as bad as you might imagine. The MREs were lunch for everybody.

The final question is: Would we do it again? The overwhelming response is: You better believe it!

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  1. Paulette Parent says:

    This opportunity to participate in Tradewinds 12 was a wonderful experience. Although not the norm, AUXCHEFs are being used more and more throughout the nation as their value in augmenting the Active Duty personnel has been recognized. If you are interested in participating in the AUXCHEF program, please go to the AUXCHEF website under the HR Department on the National Auxiliary website for more information. Anyone in District 7 who is interested can contact me directly. Semper Gumby!

    • Carl Mogavero says:

      I’m sorry I missed this class at Air Station Clearwater. Do you know when the next training will be held in this area?

      Thanks, Carl

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