Oregon Guardsmen provide five-star service to distinguished visitors
Story and photos by Sgt. John Stimac
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) Public Affairs
VICTORY BASE COMPLEX, Baghdad — When a distinguished visitor comes to the Joint Visitors Bureau at Victory Base Complex, Baghdad, Soldiers from C Troop, 1st Battalion, 82nd Cavalry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) make sure whatever needs they have are met.
From cooking five-star meals to assisting with their accommodations, Soldiers who work at the JVB Hotel enjoy their deployment working in a palace and meeting high-ranking officials like Vice President Joe Biden, four-star generals and even some celebrities.
Sgt. Justin Moore, head cook at the JVB Hotel with C Troop and a Hood River, Ore., native, said he went to culinary school as a civilian and was a cook for almost six years before opening up his own business.
"When I first got here, I was a gunner," he said. "When they found out about my cooking abilities they moved me over here about a month later."
Moore said he faces some obstacles cooking the meals, such as the lack of fresh produce and trying to come up with new and innovative meal presentations.
"We are trying to come up with nice meals," he said. "(But,) some of it depends on the types of meat we can and can't get from the Oasis dining facility."
Moore said he has cooked for many four-star generals and celebrities, including Vince McMahon of the World Wrestling Entertainment Corporation.
"It is interesting to see what people like and don't like to eat," he said.
Moore said he enjoys preparing meals on his deployment and is glad he is doing something he likes.
"What we're doing here is putting five-star meals together in Iraq," he said. "With a lot of cooks throughout Iraq, (they) are just putting out chow and counting heads and you can't get the experience of how to plate properly and do different plate designs."
He said he thinks the JVB Hotel mission helps a lot of younger Soldiers, and even some of the older cooks who have never prepared a fine dining meal in the Army.
Sgt. Joshua Mosley, the front desk noncommissioned officer in charge with C Troop and a Bend, Ore., native, said he manages four front-desk personnel and his main responsibility is guest relations.
"I manage a spreadsheet and track people coming and going from the JVB," he said. "I also have to provide accommodations for the distinguished visitor's support staff."
Mosley said distinguished visitors stay at the main hotel and the staff stays in containerized housing units across the street from the JVB Hotel.
"The CHU's are for the guests of the DV and the palace is for general officers or equivalent," he said.
Staff Sgt. Jason Bryan, the personal security detail team leader with C Troop and an Ottawa, Kan., native, said his team's mission is to provide security and transportation to any visiting dignitaries or celebrities that come through the Iraq Joint Operation Area.
"It makes them feel a lot safer, especially if they have never been here before," he said.
Bryan said most people are impressed with the size and amount of people at VBC.
"We pick them up and, depending on their itinerary, we'll take them from one place to another," he said. "Meanwhile there are some behind-the-scenes actions (necessary) to make sure that those places are safe prior to our arrival."
The visitors' safety is the team's highest priority.
"We make sure all the proper coordinations are made to ensure a smooth delivery of the individuals," he said.
Sgt. Justin Moore, the head cook at the Joint Visitors Bureau Hotel with C Troop, 1st Battalion, 82nd Cavalry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) and Hood River, Ore., native, checks the temperature of a dish he prepared March 3 at Victory Base Complex, Iraq. The cooks at the JVB Hotel prepare five-star meals for distinguished visitors and guests staying at the hotel.