Celtic Wolf's BBQ for the Troops campaign made its second stop Friday, March 27 at MCAS/New River outside Jacksonville, NC (near Camp LeJeune). This is the 220th Marine expeditionary unit (the Thunder Chickens) that flies helicopters, including the new tilt-rotor Osprey. They are about to deploy to Afghanistan. Many of you have been supportive with dollars, time, equipment and good wishes, so I hope this update will be of interest. As a non-vet, I apologize in advance for any mistakes or omissions I make in properly describing service units, military equipment, etc.
NOTE: Next stop is back to Ft Bragg on Friday, April 3, cooking 40 butts for 450 persons. An additional Egg to loan to us for this event would be of great help!
The MCAS effort began with Eggs in formation Thursday night at 2300:
We had six large Eggs, with 30 butts to cook. Four of the Eggs were equipped with Gurus, and with five butts per Egg the Gurus proved almost essential (we switched Gurus onto the more stubborn Eggs early in the morning). Adding to the challenge were a couple of broken dome thermometers on two of the Eggs. Needless to say, it was a busy cook with lots of Thermapenning.
The site was waterfront at a recreational marina on the Marine base. CW slept in his "office' (Cottent) next to the Eggs while I napped in the car in the parking lot nearby until an MP awakened me at 0300 to let me know I was not allowed to stay there. Weather conditions were far nicer than Bragg, in the 60s and mostly dry. The fauna included my first-ever sighting of a fox in the wild, and CW reported hearing a whippoorwill between the "Marine fireworks displays" (night fire exercises).
I ran my Guru using battery power. For those not familiar with this approach, it frees the Guru from extension cords/AC power and proved to be quite convenient. It kept my Egg locked at 250 for a solid 15 hours with five butts on less than one load of Wicked Good.
We were planning for service at 1530 but were advised at 1200 hours that lunch service was actually at 1300. At this point we had perhaps six butts pulled and had been mulling over whether to use bottled sauce or whip up something from scratch. Given the change in plans (one hour to service instead of 3.5) CW dashed off to buy sauce while I bumped all Eggs to 300 and organized a coterie of Marines and wives to handle garde manger. When CW returned he went into high gear, a true John Henry of Eggdom who could measure up to any powered puller:
Several of the wives were kind enough to serve. With CW pulling as fast as the Marines could eat (believe me, that's pretty fast) we managed to stay ahead of the service line and protect our six-butt buffer:
It was a great privilege to be able to thank with this modest effort those who are so bravely serving us. I asked them all to promise to wreak havoc on Al Qaeda and return to us safely for another meal. One final souvenir pic:
Many thanks again to all those Eggers who provided equipment, supplies, financing and good wishes. Next stop is Ft Bragg on April 3, and a loaner Egg or two would be a big help. Ideal equipment configuration would include an adjustable rig, two grids, a nest and a Guru.