AL UIDED AFB, DOHA, QATAR – The dining facility cooks better get your order exactly right -- or else they may draw the ire of Airman Stephen Greenway. Yesterday, Greenway jumped to the head of the line at the BPC Dining Facility (DFAC), intent on getting his order made correctly. It was “Surf & Turf” Friday, featuring Lobster Tails and New York Strip Steak, along with rice pilaf, broccoli and a make your own baked potato bar.
“This steak is well done, I want a piece of medium rare, right now, or I'm filling out a comment card. Don't make me get my shirt involved.”
Agapito Salazar, a contracted worker from the Philippines who sends scavenged MREs and Nutra-Grain bars, as well as his 15 dollars a day, back to his family of seven on Luzon, shook his head. “Only, one steak. Two steaks, scan again.” he said, motioning to the card scanner and making a swiping motion.
“Un-Flipping-Believable!” shouted Greenway, scanning the people waiting in line for sympathy. He raised his voice, “I DON'T WANT ANOTHER STEAK, I WANT NEW STEAK!” He held up a half of his juicy, 12 oz New York Strip, indicating the center portion. “NO PINK, I WANT PINK.”
“Yes, Yes, another steak, scan again.” Salazar continued to motion to the card scanner.
“You call this service? Let me speak to the manager!” Greenway yelled, violently motioning with his tray and sending one of his two hot and succulent 6 oz lobster tails skittering across the DFAC floor. Salazar turned around and went through the double door.
Marine Gunnery Sergeant Shane Appleton, on 5 days of R&R from a Forward Operating Base in Helmand province witnessed the scene. “I may have to kill this fucking kid.” Beside him, a group of naval aviation maintenance personnel, on lunch after doing an engine change in the 128 degree heat, started making vigorous up and down motions with their fists. After a moment, Salazar returned with Afzar Aja'an, a Pakistani line cook who had been preparing extremely fresh shrimp to replace the dwindling supply of lobster tails.
“You want steak, you scan.” At this point both Salazar and Aja'an launched into a spasmodic series of head nodding and pantomimed card scanning. “Scan, Scan.”
The scene attracted the attention of Lieutenant Colonel Skip 'Fruity' Pebbles, of the 869th Customer Support Squadron. “What seems to be the problem here?”
Airman Greenway came to attention in his PT uniform, adjusted his reflective-belt, and sounded off. “Sir, I requested a medium rare steak and it was well done. Now they want me to scan again to get a new piece.”
Speaking to Aja'an, Pebbles said, “This young man has already scanned, give him a piece of steak."
“He scan? Here is steak.” Aja'an handed him another plate of steak, with two of the last 5 lobster tails, and a baked potato.
“Son, your performance here today exemplifies the attitude that makes our young airmen and women the best fighting force in the world.” Lt Col Pebbles said to Greenway. “You saw a mistake and corrected it. For that I, the Air Force, and the United States are proud of you.”
The Colonel shook the young airman's hand, transferring to him a 869 CSS Command Coin.
“Thank You, Sir!” said Greenway. He then returned to his seat with his two trays of steak and lobster. After cutting into his new steak, he observed there was still no pink.
“I can't BELIEVE this!” he groaned, walking over to the trashcan and dumping both trays in.
He was last observed in line at the base Pizza Hut, ordering a medium pepperoni pan pizza, still visibly upset over the stress of his inedible steak.