News: Aviation dining facility closes its doors on Bagram Air Field
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Eric Pahon
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Task Force Atlas, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade dining facility, Pegasus Inn, served its last meal and closed its doors to diners on Bagram Air Field Aug. 17th.
Known for its Friday night “surf-n-turf,” the tiny collection of wooden huts linked together to form kitchen, serving and dining areas drew multi-national crowds from around Regional Command-East.
“I’ve actually overheard Air Force pilots talking about adjusting their flight schedules to make it to surf-n-turf,” said U.S. Army Col. T.J. Jamison, 82nd CAB commander. “It speaks volumes to what our dining facility men and women have done here this year.”
Most dining facilities in Afghanistan operate through contracts with civilian companies. The Aviation DFAC was the only Soldier-operated public mess hall, which cooked daily meals from scratch in Regional Command-East. Since Troop numbers are being drastically reduced in Afghanistan, the 101st CAB will not operate a dining facility when they replace the 82nd CAB this fall.
“In a way, today is a very sad day,” said Jamison, of Broken Arrow, Okla. “This is the end of a tradition aviation brigades have always carried on here at Bagram, and we’re going to miss it dearly.”
The crew of 43 soldiers catered to up to 3,000 diners per day during peak times, particularly on Fridays.
“I’m proud of them,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Michael Clark, the officer-in-charge, and Greenwood, S.C. native. “The things they have accomplished and the way this group works so closely with each-other is just amazing.”
The final meal was like a five-hour pot-luck dinner of greatest hits. Friday night crab and steak neighbored Saturday night wings and Monday night ribs. Everything in the coolers hit the serving line, so once the lights went out for the last time, everyone left with a taste of what had drawn them in each week.
“In a way it’s sad, but in a way it’s not, because we’re almost ready to go home,” said U.S. Army Spc. Sky Koshiba, the rations non-commissioned officer-in-charge, and a Koror, Palau native. “I know my mission was done the right way, and the best all of us could have done. I have no regrets. Today is a busy day, but once it’s done, it’s really done.”