TUCSON, Ariz. --
Not since the glory days of the Tucson Air Guard Recreation Association - the base's former all-ranks club known as TAGRA - has the 162nd Fighter Wing seen meals served on base daily, but on Tuesday, Dec. 6, a catering truck began serving breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. - every weekday.
Serving a variety of food, but specializing in Mexican fare, "La Herradura" caterers set up shop on the southwest corner of the maintenance parking lot between Hangars 10 and 12. The 162nd Force Support Squadron worked with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to contract with the vendor to support the wing's full-time training mission. Force support will continue to serve lunch during unit training assemblies in the dining facility.
The agreement includes a 30-day trial period that, if successful, may be extended for the long term.
"We're excited about this new service for the base," said Lt. Col. Garry Beauregard, 162nd Mission Support Group commander. "If the base likes this vendor we'll keep working with them. We're looking into other AAFES services for the base as well - possibly a barber shop. We think these added conveniences will help our people and the mission."
Aircraft maintainers who wear coveralls while working on the flightline will not be required to change into their uniform while visiting the catering truck.
La Herradura proprietor, Jaime Gomez, is a 28-year veteran of the Tucson food-service industry who has cooked meals all over town including on the flightline at nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Though his menu
consists of breakfast burritos, tacos, tortas and cheese burgers, he says he also offers healthy alternatives such as fruits and salads.
"We can change the menu to give people what they want," said Gomez. "I think once people try our food they come back again and again."
Master Sgt. Rick Talvy from force support met with Gomez on base Nov. 30 to verify La Herradura's food handling credentials and equipment.
"Everything was very clean and in order," said Talvy. "He's well aware of his thermometers and knows when to check food."
"I think it's a great deal for this vendor to give our members food service," he added. "We're often in a time crunch to balance our lunch breaks with work, so having this available is an easy source for people to come out for food and return to work. We think it will be good for the unit."