With pinch of sea salt: Culinary specialists hone skills aboard Army watercraft

| October 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

U.S. Army Sgt. James Munar, a Pomona, California native and a culinary specialist with the 605th Transportation Detachment, 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, helps prepare lunch with his Soldiers on board the Logistic Support Vessel the CW3 Harold A. Clinger (LSV-2) 40-miles south of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii on Oct. 4, 2017.

Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. Melissa Parrish
U.S. Army Pacific Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICAKAM — The sun is rising over the ocean as the Logistic Support Vessel Chief Warrant Officer 3 Harold A. Clinger (LSV-2) and crew prepare to set sail for a waterborne gunnery mission 40 nautical miles off the coast of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Today’s mission is weapons training, but the crew is also transporting vital training equipment for exercises and engagements across the Pacific for Soldiers and Marines.

Sway-interesting

The winds are high and the waves are causing the vessel to sway. The cooks on board are sliding around the closet-sized galley (kitchen) as they chop vegetables to prepare meals for the day ahead.

U.S. Army Sgt. James Munar, a Pomona, California, native and a culinary specialist with the 605th Trans. Det., 8th STB 8th TSC, helps prepare lunch with his Soldiers on board the Logistic Support Vessel the CW3 Harold A. Clinger (LSV-2), 40-miles south of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii on Oct. 4, 2017.

Sgt. James Munar laughs as he slides into the wall with a spatula in one hand and a bowl in the other. He tells one of the newer Soldiers, “Welcome to the boat life.”

Munar, a Pomona, California, native, is a culinary specialist on board the LSV-2, with the 605th Transportation Detachment, 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

He loves his job as a crew member on one of the Army’s eight LSVs, but admits he didn’t know what to expect when he arrived.

“I was overwhelmed on my first day, I didn’t even know the Army had boats and now I would be cooking on one of them,” said Munar. “I knew it was going to be different than a regular Army dining facility. It was a challenge at first, but I am used to it now. …Sometimes I have to catch things as they fall and the boat is rocking.”

U.S. Army Sgt. James Munar, a Pomona, California, native and a culinary specialist with the 605th Trans. Det., 8th STB, 8th TSC, helps prepare for the waterborne gunnery mission on board the Logistic Support Vessel the CW3 Harold A. Clinger (LSV-2), 40-miles south of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, on Oct. 4.

Munar and two other Soldiers feed the 31 crew members on board breakfast, lunch and dinner while they are out at sea. He takes the opportunity get creative with meal options.

“In a dining facility things are pretty strict when it comes to menu items and seasonings you can use,” Munar said. “I like to get my Soldiers involved and we all come up with meal ideas as a team. We experiment with different ingredients and try to feed the crew food they will love.”

Food = Morale

The morale of the crew members is often dependent on the quality of the meal they receive, according to Sgt. 1st Class Donald Dinsmore, a watercraft operator and the Detachment Sergeant of the 605th Trans. Det., 8th STB, 8th TSC.

“If Sgt. Munar and his team serve a meal that is on point, you can just see the crew’s morale go up,” said Dinsmore. “People are happier and more willing to push through their tasks with a smile. We work in close quarters, so if the meal is great we get to thank him and tell him we loved it, and if it isn’t they let him know that, too.”

U.S. Army Sgt. James Munar, a Pomona, California, native and a culinary specialist with the 605th Trans. Det., 8th STB, 8th TSC, helps prepare for the waterborne gunnery mission on board the Logistic Support Vessel, CW3 Harold A. Clinger (LSV-2), 40-miles south of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii on Oct. 4, 2017.

Munar serves his meals with pride knowing he was able to whip up something unique for the crew.

Pride
“When the crew tells me they loved dinner or thank me for the meal it gives me pride because I know that it didn’t just come off of a recipe card. It came from something my team cooked up,” Munar said. “I feel a responsibility to keep morale high on the boat and I try and do that every day. Everyone on this vessel works really hard and eating good food is a good reward.”

Munar is also the armorer aboard the LSV-2 and has designated tasks for emergency situations. He trains with the crew and tries to pitch in on other tasks in any way he can.

“I love this assignment,” Munar said. “If I can re-enlist to stay on the LSV-2, I would do it in a heartbeat.”

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