TACOMA, WA, UNITED STATES
Story by Edzel Butac
Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs Office
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — Is your unit having a training event and you have limited time for lunch? Well, you can now bring the meal to you to save valuable time.
The Rest Assured Food Truck (RAFT) from the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command had its grand opening in front of their headquarters building on Lewis North Jan. 17. The ceremony drew a sizable crowd, including Brig. Gen. Martine Kidd, 593rd ESC commander, who presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially opening the RAFT for duty.
“A big thanks to the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence, to the quartermaster center and school for their vision and sight to see this coming and recognize that not only is it a good thing for Soldiers and for commanders, but it also is matching with what industry trends are doing right now,” said Kidd. “We can provide quality food to Soldiers where they are, and that includes out there in ranges, motor pools, workspaces and other locations in and around the installation here at JBLM so that commanders can continue (their) mission.”
Joint Base Lewis-McChord is one of over 10 installations since 2021 offering this mobile service.
“This is an Army initiative,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Antonio Wills, 593rd ESC food adviser. “One of the ways the Army plans to modernize and increase Soldier readiness is to improve food service and nutrition.
“We recognize the need to provide convenient nutritional balance so we’re trying to serve food where service members work, train and live. That’s the way the Army is getting out there and that’s the intent behind the food truck.”
The RAFT arrived on JBLM in May 2022. The 564th Quartermaster Company selected a team of culinarians to operate the food truck. A team led by Staff Sgt. Lourdes Malone, RAFT manager and the catalyst in standing up the food truck, deployed to Fort Lee, Va., to train on food truck operations in July 2022. Upon returning, the team conducted internal training sessions in preparation for the soft opening and to hone their skills for the grand opening, according to Wills.
“They love it,” said Capt. Victor Galvez, 564th Quartermaster Company commander, about the culinarians working on the RAFT. “It’s a new concept so any time you introduce something new they’re either going to be scared or excited. In this case, they’re excited. We can rotate our culinarians out and they can all get experience on the food truck and support our Soldiers.”
RAFT Assistant Manager Staff Sgt. Nicholas Busbyparham is looking forward to the new opportunities the food truck brings.
“It’s my first time working on the food truck,” Busbyparham said. “I know a lot of culinarians get used to just working in the dining facility every day, but it becomes routine and boring. So being out of the DFAC and in the food truck and experience different things is refreshing.”
Another culinarian working on the RAFT is Sgt. Hunter McManus, and he was excited for the potential of the food truck, especially to meal card holders.
“While we offer much of the same thing you can get at a restaurant, ours is on a much more personal basis,” said McManus. “It’s faster and it’s no costs to the average Soldier. They’re already getting their meal entitlements taken out of their paycheck every month, so why not just come here, grab a wholesome meal and then be on your way.”
If you are interested in having RAFT serve meals at your unit, email your request at
“You can request the food truck six weeks out,” Wills said. “If inside six weeks and we don’t have any requests, we may be able to accommodate you. But the intent is to do it six weeks out to guarantee your desired date.”
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