Jawbone Flight Kitchen: More than making sandwiches

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hailey Haux
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Working close with the Ramstein Passenger Terminal and the fleet services flight, the Jawbone Flight Kitchen supports and maintains 24/7 meal services and operations for Ramstein Airmen.

"We strive to provide the best customer service to all of our customers," said Master Sgt. Tamala Williams, 786th Force Support Squadron flight kitchen NCOIC. "Our goal is to deliver nutritious meals on time to keep missions flying."

To accomplish this mission, members of the flight kitchen work as a team to plan ahead and get things done.

"Teamwork and communication are key," said Staff Sgt. Shellisa Forbes, 786th FSS food service journeyman. "Each shift must work together to set themselves and the next shift up for success."

Flight kitchen members do more than cook meals for members of Ramstein.

"A lot of people think that all we do is make sandwiches," said Forbes. "The job actually ranges from customer service to food safety, inventory, food waste control, funds accountability and resource protection."

With many missions coming into the flight kitchen unplanned, Airmen of the Jawbone Flight Kitchen must organize as much in advance as possible.

"We have more than 250 boxed meals premade," said Williams. "We do it to ensure we are able to keep up with the high tempo here at Ramstein. This way we are ready in case a mission comes in and we have to have meals that need to go out at a moment's notice."

As much as they prepare ahead of time, there are many challenges members of the flight kitchen face on a day-to-day basis.

"It's difficult to anticipate the amount of meals that are needed by aircraft departing Ramstein," said Forbes. "It's different every day, some days it is very busy and others it's a little slower."

Communicating with Airmen from the 721st Ariel Port Squadron flight control and fleet services to get the exact number of meals required is a huge help, Forbes said. The flight kitchen staff arranges the meals, then fleet services Airmen deliver the meals to the aircraft.

The flight kitchen personnel must keep a large stockpile of products that can be used and distributed on a daily basis.

"We go through a lot of water here," said Senior Airman Alexis McGarrity, 786th FSS storeroom NCO in charge. "I am in charge of all the inventory and ordering products. I order four pallets of water a week, totaling more than 4,000 bottles of water."

The Jawbone Flight Kitchen staff offers hot meals for breakfast and lunch in their extended flight kitchen.

"A regular flight kitchen prepares only boxed meals," said Forbes. "An extended flight kitchen is more of a miniature dining facility. We have room for 16 seats and Airmen can come in to get a hot breakfast or lunch."

Airmen of the flight kitchen provide an assortment of foods for people to choose from.
For breakfast there is an omelet bar, boiled eggs, oatmeal, grits, bacon, biscuits, pancakes and French toast.

There are a variety of items for the lunch menu as well. A typical flight kitchen lunch menu consists of one main entrée; chicken, fish, beef or pork, one starch and a vegetable. In addition, there are snackline items offered such as sloppy joes, specialty sandwiches, buffalo wings, fries, onion rings, ravioli, and baked beans. There is also a salad bar available daily.

The Jawbone Flight Kitchen is open daily. Breakfast and lunch are available Monday through Friday, but not on weekends. Breakfast is served from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and lunch is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ground and flight meals are available 24/7.

"Services as a whole is important for the mission," said Forbes. "Airmen cannot fly, fight and win if they are hungry, sleepy and out of shape. My job is to make sure all Airmen are fed to accomplish the mission."