PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Service members entering the
Mountain Top Cafe dining facility, on Forward Operating Base
Lightning, Afghanistan, are greeted by a welcome and familiar face.
January, 23, 2012 - U.S. Army Sgt. Richard
Ellsworth of Tucson, Ariz., is the dining facility noncommissioned
officer-in-charge, on Forward Operating Base Lightning, Afghanistan.
Ellsworth, assigned to Company G, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field
Artillery, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), ensures the dining
facility rules are followed, conducts DFAC audits twice monthly and
delivers food to Afghan security and linguist personel. (U.S. Army
photo by Spc. Michael Germundson, 115th Mobile Public Affairs
U.S. Army Sgt. Richard Ellsworth, a food service specialist
assigned to Company G, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery
Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), is the dining
facility noncommisioned officer-in-charge and liason between the
military and the DFAC contractor.
Ellsworth, a native of
Tucson, Ariz., has been serving in the Army for 14 years. After
serving in the Arizona National Guard, Ellsworth decided to join the
active Army as job opportunities dwindled.
“From a patriotic
standpoint, I want to fight for my country, be in the top one
percent that serve and keep the U.S. safe; that's why I serve,” said
Ellsworth. “The school, healthcare and retirement benefits are nice,
but you serve because you want to serve.”
Out of the five
military occupational skills Ellsworth has trained for, being an
infantryman was his favorite. Between 2007 and 2008 Ellsworth was
deployed to FOB Goode, just a couple miles down the road from his
“The work and adrenaline rush of going on
missions was exciting,” said Ellsworth. “The camaraderie [with
infantryman] is better than most units.”
After four years
away from Paktya Province, Ellsworth is back to his old stomping
grounds. With his new job he has a schedule that keeps him busy for
the better part of each day.
While in the DFAC, Ellsworth
ensures that guests meet the standards to include: wearing the
proper uniform, washing hands before entering and proper storage of
weapons while eating. In the evenings, Ellsworth is in charge of the
dinner delivery for the Afghan security guard and Afghan linguist
dining facilities. After the food is made and put into insulated
containers, he delivers it to the two separate locations.
Outside of lunch and dinner shift duty, Ellsworth is in
charge of meeting delivery trucks at the Afghan entry
control point on FOB Thunder and escorting the driver to the
FOB Lightning DFAC.
Ellsworth said it takes up to
two hours for the driver to go through six security checks
that include visual inspection around the truck and an
inspection by dogs that are trained to smell and alert for
bombs and other contraband. After verifying the shipping
information, Ellsworth will have the load seals removed so
the DFAC employees can stock the supplies for future meals.
“Ellsworth, like a brother, has your back,” said Blaise
Madouma, a food service specialist contractor in the DFAC.
“He's down to earth, easy to talk to and easy to relate to.
He's always there for anybody and everybody.”
monthly, Ellsworth conducts DFAC audits to ensure food is
stored and maintained at proper temperatures, ensuring that
employees are up to date with their health records, training
requirements are current and that the first in-first out
method is used to keep food from spoiling.
gratifying knowing that the soldier is fed and that the
Soldier is happy,” said Ellsworth. “I love what I do.”
By Army Spc. Michael Germundson
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