USO volunteers unleash feast at CASF

Monica Mendoza
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***On every flight out of Iraq that brings injured servicemembers to Ramstein, the 791st Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron cooks up an American-style meal on the five-hour plane ride for their patients. It’s just their way of saying thanks for their service.

At Ramstein, the day before Thanksgiving, over in the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility, it was the EAES team who was treated to a home cooked American meal.

USO volunteers made cakes, pies, corn, salads and turkey for the 80 members who work the flights that bring injured and ill servicemembers to the CASF. It was just their way of saying thanks.

“It is just a chance to kick back with them and give them something,” said Chris Clark, manager of the USO office located in the 26,000-square-foot CASF. Injured servicemembers are brought from downrange and all over Europe to the CASF, where they are evaluated and sent to hospitals or rehabilitation centers in Germany or in the States. Sixty percent of the CASF team are deployed to Ramstein for four-month tours, away from their families. The USO volunteers, who work closely with the CASF team, wouldn’t let the Thanksgiving holiday go by without some good old fashioned green bean casserole. When USO volunteer coordinator Catherine Edmonds asked for folks to cook their best dish for the CASF team and the injured warriors, a rush of folks volunteered.

Col. Belinda Morrone, 791st Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron commander, said her team is thanked with every smile and every relieved servicemember who is safely on his or her way home.

“It takes a special kind of person to work aerovac,” said Colonel Morrone. “These folks really love their job. They know what they are doing has a strong purpose and the troops appreciate that.”