DVIDS – News – A Taste of Home
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – Lieutenant Ross McCaskill, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, director of construction, is currently on his second deployment to Camp Lemonnier Djibouti.
After arriving here for the first time in 2015, Lt. (N) Ross McCaskill has become an integral part of building nine of the structures people enjoy on Camp Lemonnier today – including the main headquarters building, a gym and a Pizza Hut, to name a few.
As a construction manager who has spent 18 years on countless construction projects, one project stands out from the rest – the Officer’s Square, a recreational facility that offers the opportunity to enrich social and professional well-being. soldiers through camaraderie and respect for traditions.
While the Wardroom’s structure was completed in 2016, something was missing inside – a sense of home.
So when McCaskill, from Texas, returned to Djibouti in 2020, he sought to expand the officer’s quarters he had built half a decade earlier by donating another of his talents, this time using kitchen utensils. cooking instead of construction tools.
“Where there is a will, there is a way,” McCaskill said. As an eternal optimist, he looked at the situation and immediately found a solution to help improve the morale of the military.
With his love of cooking and barbecuing in mind, McCaskill decided to use the unseasoned, non-charred smokers sitting in the scorching dusty corner of the wardroom. He grilled fresh meats and other foods for the military squared to give them a literal taste of home.
“That’s one of the driving forces for me… letting the guys who are having a really tough day come in and remember what’s going on at home,” he said. “That’s why I like to do it.”
What started as a small operation run only by him has now grown into one of the most popular and elite groups in the camp: the Wardroom Pit Masters, a team of experienced grill chefs.
Their meats cooked within the confines of a brick smokehouse – its metal door sealed with wooden planks and loading straps – were first enjoyed by Wardroom members at their first barbecue in the 4th July.
On several other occasions, this group of five grill gurus served over 200 people who lined up just to get a taste of the team’s labor of love.
“Cooking with the guys made this deployment so much better, and it feels good to know that I’ve improved other people’s deployments a bit,” said McCaskill.
The Wardroom is now a coveted retreat, grown from a small log cabin to an enclosed paradise where one can escape the stressors of a deployed environment, and the grill operation continues to thrive and grow under the McCaskill’s hand.
“I love when people compliment my food, but it’s best when they say it reminds them of home,” said McCaskill, a College Station resident.
Navy Lieutenant Commander Heather Wilkins, vice president of the officer’s quarters, said McCaskill has been a phenomenal food patron.
“He really works through every cook with all his heart, and that brings a new sense of satisfaction to the members of the Wardroom,” Wilkins said. “I believe our members can see the dedication he shows to making their day a little better, and they can use that same esprit de corps and pass it on to their units when they return to work.”
Although McCaskill’s time in Djibouti is limited, he doesn’t want his contributions to end here. His team has already received invitations to grill in their communities upon their return home.
Journeyman Marine Corps Pit Petty Officer Maj.Greg Sommers, Aviation Maintenance Officer, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234, agreed to share his journeyman’s sentiment, stating that where hunger and resources exist, they will be there, ready to fire the grill.
The close-knit group of friends will bring their food and their values wherever they go. And Texas A&M University graduate McCaskill said his grilling journey will never end as he plans to continually strive to help others, give back and cherish his environment, wherever it is.
“Being an Aggie is about selfless service, it’s about community, and it’s my community now,” McCaskill said.
|Date posted:||04/10/2021 03:06|
|Site:||CAMP LEMONNIER, DJ|
|Hometown:||COLLEGE STATION, Texas, United States|
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