Friday 6th May 2022
Over five hundred officers, aviators and guests were fed by No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron from RAF Wittering during a super-graduation at RAF Cranwell on Friday 29th April.
The combined parade was comprised of over five hundred officers and aviators that had graduated from their initial training during the COVID Pandemic period, when families, friends and loved ones were restricted from attending the graduation parades. His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales was the Reviewing Officer.
Acting Warrant Officer (A/WO) Reece Holt led a team of 30 chefs and stewards from No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron (3MCS) and the wider Royal Air Force, supported by the engineers of 5001 Squadron. A/WO Holt said: “It was big logistical challenge; we haven’t fed that many people since the Capability Evaluation at RAF Leeming last year. But we were equal to it.”
Over the six days of rehearsals and the graduation parade itself, the 3MCS team prepared approximately 10,500 meals, serving around 600 people at each sitting. An English breakfast was available every morning, with five choices at dinner including a vegetarian option. If that doesn’t sound busy enough, the lunch service saw 600 personnel served in less than an hour; an amazing achievement which was faultlessly maintained during the six days.
A/WO Holt, who lists his grandmother and Marco Pierre White as his two biggest influences, was in no doubt about the importance of the task. He said: “We had to offer popular choices that covered what people want to eat, but you can’t do too many options. We did homemade breads and accompaniments so we could offer a full dining experience.”
Initially formed in 1975 as the RAF Mobile Catering Support Unit, 3MCS has been supporting exercises and operations for over forty years. The Squadron regularly supports fast jet deployments and can offer immediate support to aircraft crash situations.
The 3MCS personnel and their counterparts from the wider Royal Air Force formed a highly effective team, getting up to speed in an impressively short time. RAF caterers travelled from every corner of the country for the event, even from as far afield as Boulmer in Northumberland.
The combined parade was a great success and enabled the RAF’s newest personnel to celebrate their achievements. The parade also recognised the crucial part families, friends and loved ones in the development and success of RAF personnel.
Squadron Leader Sara Jones commands No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron. She said: “The team deserves nothing less than full credit for this, it is an astonishing achievement to ensure that so many people were properly fed for this parade. They did an amazing job, more than 10,000 delicious and nutritious meals prepared and served. They are a credit to the RAF.”
Group Captain Nick Huntley is Commanding Officer of the A4 Force Elements, the specialist engineering and logistics squadrons of which 3MCS is a part. He said: “My sincere thanks to A/WO Holt, Flight Sergeant Findon and the entire team for their work in preparing and delivering the catering for this celebratory parade. Working in a kitchen under this kind of pressure, for an important event like this is no mean feat. My congratulations and thanks go to everyone involved.”
Top image: 3 Mobile Catering Sqn working in RUBB Hangar. All images by Mr Paul Saxby.