Foodies and Forces

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Savory crepes, gourmet hot dogs, oven-fired pizza, southern comfort food, authentic Nepali cuisine and frosty Italian ice. This may sound like a food festival paradise, but these are just some of the options being provided to Gunfighters by the 366th Force Support Squadron while they operate out of Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho, this August.

FSS has partnered with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service in order to provide nine different food trucks. These trucks will be working around the clock to keep the approximately 800 airmen working at Gowen Field fed while their runway back at Mountain Home Air Force Base is being repaired.

FSS has extended the dining facility hours and are providing box-lunch delivery options to accommodate later shifts and keep the airmen at Gowen Field happy and healthy. This is in addition to all the standard amenities airmen are used to on base, including midnight meals.

"There's usually four, five, six different food trucks every single day," said 1st Lt. Lera Pearson, 366th Maintenance Group executive officer, who has been working out of Gowen Field since before the Wing's fighter craft arrived last week. "You have a lot more options, which I like. And they're convenient."

With such a fast-paced mission, having food trucks right outside the hangars has helped keep operations running like a well-oiled machine.

"It's also convenient for maintenance, since we don't always have a long time to eat lunch. They can zip out real quick, grab their lunch, eat and then go back to work," she said.

Many of the food truck owners are glad to come support the airmen, some of whom come from military families or backgrounds.

"It really gives me great pride," said Yvonne Anderson Thomas, owner of Brown Shuga Soul Food. "We were military, Air Force, 20 years ... I feel like I'm coming kind of back home, on the base now that we're retired."

"My husband was a Marine, so it's hard for me to accept money from anyone in uniform," Courtney Eberhardt, owner of the Idaho Ice Queen Italian Ice stand said with a chuckle.

The food trucks are just one example of how the temporary shift in operations has been beneficial not only to Gowen Field, but to the Gunfighters and Boise in general. For the Gunfighters at least, the food trucks make the relocation just a bit more manageable.

"I do appreciate Team Gunfighters effort to ensure that the maintenance and ops folks have a place to eat," said Lt. Col. John Jacobus, 366th MXG deputy commander. "It's actually a really diverse variety ... most of the food truck personnel have been very friendly and I know a few times stayed longer. So far, I haven't had a bad meal."

The food trucks and vendors will continue to operate out of Gowen Field for as long as the Gunfighters are there, which is projected to last until the end of August.

"I really love hearing everyone's stories, hearing where they're from and getting to know them," Eberhardt said. "I love being out here."