If there’s one misconception that exists about the Coast Guard’s food service specialists, it’s probably that their only responsibilities are in the galley, cooking. For Petty Officer 1st Class Sammy Paone, the special command aide at Coast Guard 17th District in Juneau, Alaska, firing up the range to make homemade meals is only a fragment of his overall job.
When you ask someone what he or she enjoys most about being in the Coast Guard, the answer isn’t usually creativity. But for Petty Officer 1st Class Mason Champlin, it’s the creative freedom that makes coming to work each and every day enjoyable.
Varied experiences and diverse backgrounds are what each and every Coast Guard member brings to the service. These two things combine to form talented, motivated and skilled crews that perform each of the Coast Guard’s 11 missions. Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Ganjour brings both to the table.
One of the newest crewmembers aboard Coast Guard Cutter Munro, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in Kodiak, Alaska, is food specialist Austin Reed. A recent graduate of the Coast Guard’s food service specialist “A” school, Reed is just finding out what it’s like to be part of a team aboard a Coast Guard cutter.
Born in Kazakhstan, growing up in America and now serving in the galley aboard Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton, Zelenskaya has left a lasting impression on her shipmates through her love of country, her passion for using food to knit the crew together and her “cheesy bread” recipe which is a personal favorite of Sexton’s commanding officer, Lt. Kevin Connell.
At some point in everyone’s life, they think to themselves ‘If I can find a job I truly love, I will never have to work a day in my life.’ For Petty Officer 3rd Class Kristle Lopez, this is a thought that shaped her entire future. “Being in the military and serving my country is in my blood,” Lopez said.
Most Coast Guard men and women who choose the food service specialist rating do so because they love to cook. For Petty Officer 3rd Class Amy Edwards, it was more than just a love of cooking that impacted the route she took. After completing basic training, Edwards was stationed at Coast Guard Station Destin, Fla. As she learned about the different rates the Coast Guard offered, it was the creativity and rewarding work of the unit’s food service specialists that impressed her most.
Petty Officer 2nd Class James Mitchell first chose to be a food service specialist while at a recruiter’s office. At the time, he had an application in to attend a culinary school in Chicago, but was drawn to the opportunity of serving his country, traveling the world and learning the culinary trade.
Many Coast Guardsmen join knowing they want to serve their country but aren’t quite sure how. Not Petty Officer 1st Class Bethany Clark. Clark joined the Coast Guard in 2009 knowing exactly what she wanted to do; she wanted to be a chef. A 2006 graduate of Johnson & Whales University in Providence, R.I., Clark studied culinary nutrition and wanted to take her talents to sea.