PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – A member of the food service team pulls out a tray of freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies from the brand new stainless-steel oven. Meanwhile, his shipmate fills the remaining serving trays with food prepared on the upgraded stove. Outside, the hardworking crew of the Los Angeles -class fast-attack submarine USS Columbus (SSN 762) waits anxiously for the serving windows to open, all while enjoying the fresh air and Hawaiian sunshine at the historic submarine piers of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Naval Submarine Support Command (NSSC), Pearl Harbor’s recent acquisition of a new mobile galley offers Columbus Sailors prepared meals pierside while the boat’s galley undergoes routine maintenance.
The brand new mobile galley was purchased by NSSC for approximately $192,000 from U.S. Mobile Kitchens out of Maryland.
“The old mobile galley has become less cost-effective to maintain,” said Chief Petty Officer Michael Duncan, a culinary specialist stationed at NSSC, who handled the purchase of the new mobile galley. “It took more than two years to finally get it here but it was necessary to support the waterfront.”
Columbus, which is the first boat to use the new mobile galley, requested NSSC’s support once they found out their galley would be temporarily shut down.
“Any time we need to do maintenance in the galley or on the systems that affect galley function, we contact NSSC,” said Petty Officer 1st Class John Nordman, Columbus’ leading culinary specialist.
The boat’s supply officer, Lt. j.g. Jose Chirinos, who oversees the mobile galley’s daily operations, said the galley is a breath of fresh air compared to the old mobile galley.
“This galley has everything we need to get the job done, including all new equipment and air conditioning,” said Chirinos. “When we would do burger day in the old mobile galley, I think it would get up to 120 degrees.”
The newest addition to the waterfront has also brought the Sailors and officers of Columbus closer together.
“There’s no Chiefs Mess or Wardroom up here,” said Seaman Jean Luc Constantine, a sonar technician temporarily assigned to the galley as a food service attendant. “The whole crew eats together and I think this has brought us closer.”
The new mobile galley continues to allow a submarine’s culinary specialists to prepare food for the crew during maintenance periods, now with a side of island sunshine.
“Sailors get the chance to get some fresh air, look at the water, and relax for a little bit while they eat here,” said Chirinos. “It’s really the hottest thing on the waterfront.”