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    The Sugar Shack is a popular pit stop for pilots

    The Sugar Shack is a popular pit stop for pilots

    Photo By Sgt. Matthew Wright | The Sugar Shack outside the airfield landing pad of the Forward Army and Refueling...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Matthew Wright 

    40th Combat Aviation Brigade

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Pilots who fly long missions don’t usually have time to stop and eat at the dining facility (DFAC). Camp Taji offers them a pit stop when they come to refuel their helicopters at the post’s Forward Army and Refueling Point, or FARP.

    They call this pit stop the Sugar Shack.

    The shack is run by the aviation fueling specialists of Alpha Company of the 640th Aviation Support Battalion. Sgt. Richard Sandoval of Alpha Company, a Madera, Calif., native, helps run the shack. Sandoval said the pit stop is a kind of thank you for the job the pilots do in keeping the skies safe.

    The Sugar Shack is a small air-conditioned building about the size of a large tool shed. It contains refrigerators with sandwiches, pita bread wraps, water and other assorted drinks, and a small bench to take a break.

    Sandoval and the other fuel specialists from Alpha Company who work the day shift stock the shack two times a day. The pilots have an opportunity to grab a drink or two, a sandwich or a wrap and take a break as their helicopters get refueled.

    The Sugar Shack provides a benefit for the pilots whose missions can last for hours at a time, explained Lt. Col. Laura Yeager, deputy commanding officer of the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade, and a Folsom, Calif., native. “When they are out on missions, they often fly six to seven hours without taking a break,” she said.

    “Seeing how we only have two meals a day, this is like our third meal,” said Chief Warrant Officer Tim A. Dailey, an AH-64 Apache helicopter pilot from Lexington, Ky., with Charlie Company, 8th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment, an Army Reserve unit out of Fort Knox, Ky.

    The shack is popular among pilots throughout Iraq. “We get pilots from the Army, the Navy and sometimes even Iraqi pilots,” Sandoval said.

    Sandoval said the turkey wraps go fast. Without microwaves or ovens, the pilots find unique ways to heat their wraps. “The wraps are cold so we take them and sit them on the front dash of the Apache for a bit,” Dailey said. “The cheese melts and it is delicious.”

    The workload for the pilots can be heavy. They fly aviation missions and transport soldiers from base to base around Iraq day and night. The Sugar Shack may be small and though it doesn’t have the facilities to offer a full meal, it still provides a way for the pilots to grab a bite to eat and something to drink, which helps to keep them going on those long missions.



    Date Taken: 05.28.2011
    Date Posted: 06.04.2011 02:49
    Story ID: 71576
    Location: CAMP TAJI, IQ 

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