CAMP SENDAI, Japan – The real world experience the National Guard and the Army Reserves bring coupled with lessons learned from past training exercises has created an invaluable blueprint for success during Yama Sakura (YS) 63. The Reserve soldiers who came with the 35th Combat Sustainment Support to Camp Sendai added a lot of the special touches that made “chow” a little closer to what mom used to make.
When the 35th CSSB deployed to YS 63, they did so with only a moderate-sized contingent of active duty cooks, and the rest of the team came from the Reserve components. The part-time soldiers serving on active duty in support of the exercise quickly proved their worth as they prepared two hot meals each day for 800 men and women participating in the YS 63 at Camp Sendai, Japan.
Army reservists Spc. Tieka Jones, 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and Spc. Jasmine Gomez, 693rd Quartermaster Co., went above and beyond during a rare overseas duty training here in Japan.
These soldiers worked long hours, getting up hours before most everyone else, and performed their duties with excellence. Jones and Gomez made a point to make eye contact and greet each person as they went through line. Gomez was frequently seen lugging several mermites from the mobile kitchen trailer to the serving line several times during each meal.
The outstanding contribution the reservists made to the mission was noticed and even rewarded by Army Col. Nora Marcos, Deputy Chief of Staff, G6 commander of U.S. Army Japan, who publicly recognized them during her evening staff meeting naming them “Leader of the Pack.”
“Jones and Gomez have really worked hard while they were here at Camp Sendai and they both have a great attitude,” Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Kessler, dining facility manager said. “Jones always has a smile and people have commented on that to me and you cannot outwork Gomez.”
Marcos and Kessler weren’t the only two who found value in the service of their brothers and sisters in Reserve arms. According to Command Sgt. Maj. Ron J. Joshua, 35th CSSB senior enlisted leader, the National Guard and Army Reserve, America’s “part-time” military, is an example of the military using their resources more effectively.
“When we started going downrange, I didn’t know about the National Guard. We saw them, but we didn’t know anything about them,” Joshua said. “They were just “weekend warriors” to many of us until I went to Iraq the first time, and I found out what the Guard brings to the table. We can’t do it without [them].”