>Crossing oceans to cook for the Munro

>FS1 Omarr Brown, TAD – ISC Seattle.It was 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2008 and I woke to the sound of my cell phone ringing. I went to answer it but missed the call. I checked my messages and discovered that I had 16 missed calls and 10 unread text messages. I normally don’t sleep in the afternoon but I had decided to take a short nap to get me ready for the Labor Day weekend. Little did I know that the phone calls and the text messages that I missed would change everything I had planned that weekend, and for the next several months.
I dialed the last missed call and chief food service specialist Hermes answered. We had been planning a going away luncheon for him before his transfer to the Coast Guard Cutter Active.

“What’s up Chief”, I said.
“Hey man, you know I’m a joker but I have to tell you something that’s not so funny,” he said.
“Okay, what is it?” I asked.
“You have to be on a plane to Tokyo tonight to meet the Munro. I have your Tono (travel order number), get a pen so you can write it down” he said.
“You have got to be kidding me,” I was dumfounded.

I didn’t have anything ready, clothes, uniforms, toiletries, nothing was packed.

I was directed to pick up my orders at the front gate of ISC Seattle from the officer of the day (OOD). After that I called SATO to book my ticket and managed to avoid being sent all the way to the east coast before flying to Japan. I purchased two tickets on my TONO that would enable me to meet the boat on time.

Four hours later I was on the plane.

I worried about how I was going to get to the ship. I didn’t know how to speak any Japanese, my cell phone didn’t get service and I didn’t know if the people from the ship had my itinerary.
During the entire eleven hour flight the passenger next to me kept nodding off, so I spent most of the flight moving a stranger’s head off my shoulder. Needless to say I was very tired by the time I arrived in Tokyo.

I came off the plane and wondered what to do next, but I spotted two men holding signs with my name on them. They introduced themselves as Senior Chief Mark Cushing and Petty Officer 2nd Class David Rabouin, two FS’ from the Munro galley. Seeing them was a great relief.

On the ride over I was told that I would be with the Munro for the remainder of their patrol, for the next two months. I was also given a detailed brief on everyone I would be working with in the galley. It was a lot to take in after an eleven hour trans-oceanic flight.

When I arrived on the ship I received warm and friendly greetings from everyone which was a nice surprise. I was quickly given a rack and some linen and invited to go out with some of the other First Classes.

Sept. 29, 2008 is my one month anniversary aboard the Munro an since first reporting it has been a fantastic experience. The FS’s that work with me are happy and hardworking. The communication between command and crew is the best that I’ve ever seen.

If I could serve on the Munro as my permanent duty station, I would do it in a heart beat.
Adjusting to the Alaskan weather would definitely be a challenge, I think I could manage.

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