Posted by: arbeam | September 6, 2013

NAS Whidbey Island galley reconnects with history

Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Sean Stephens of VAQ-131 adjusts one of many historic pictures now hanging in the Admiral Nimitz Hall as part of a recent galley décor project.

Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Sean Stephens of VAQ-131 adjusts one of many historic pictures now hanging in the Admiral Nimitz Hall as part of a recent galley décor project.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, commissioned Sept. 21, 1942, is home of all Navy tactical electronic attack squadrons as well as a majority of the Navy’s surveillance and collection squadrons. Centrally located and just outside of the flight line is the Admiral Nimitz Dining Facility, responsible for providing hot nutritious meals to 1,300 sailors every day.

Recently the dining facility underwent a “no cost” sailor led renovation. Working with base public affairs officers, food service personnel were granted access to a historic storage barn on base containing artifacts removed from the Officers’ Club years earlier. “After some research and many phone calls to various key figures on base, we hit a gold mine,” said Leading Culinary Specialist Vicente Mayoral. “There were piles of artifacts that had been untouched for almost 15 years.”

In preparation for the galley’s Five Star Inspection, the food service team updated the theme of the mess decks. The team transformed a generic outdoors motif, to a décor more fitting for one of the Navy’s finest air stations. After some spackle and fresh paint, the team hung various pictures and posters, the oldest of which was of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Various themes started to take shape on walls consisting of the aerial evolution of the base, multiple World War II battles, and the aircraft that have called Whidbey Island home. “We wiped the dust off of these pictures and posters and when we started to hang them up one by one, the walls started to come to life with an essence of a museum, it was amazing,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Diana Chavez.

By the time the team had finished, they had created a new mess deck that proudly displayed naval history and was relevant to the sailors who call Whidbey Island home.

Eventually a “Black Shoe” corner was developed as a nod to the surface warfare community. It was created by and later dedicated to Mayoral in recognition of his hard work in the galley and his return to the sea.

As luck would have it, the redecorating of the Admiral Nimitz Dining Facility paid off. The food service team won its 13th consecutive “Five Star” accreditation, scoring an outstanding in décor.

“The addition of the art work and historical artifacts have significantly impacted the awareness of every sailor and increased the connection with our NAS Whidbey Island and Navy heritage,” said Capt. Chris Phillips, NAS Whidbey Island executive officer. “Sailors are afforded the opportunity to enjoy an outstanding meal in the presence of historical figures that have positively impacted our Navy and nation.”

In the future, the Admiral Nimitz Dining Facility plans to further expand its current decor to reflect more present day aircraft, rotary aircraft and the naval history of the USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41).

Northwest Navy life article



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