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Masako Suda, operator of the Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Navy Exchange Mobile Canteen, awaits orders from Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, Atsugi sailors. The Mobile Canteen travels around Atsugi offering a variety of meals and snacks to the base community. (pnw# 61p cs)
Masako Suda, operator of the Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Navy Exchange Mobile Canteen, awaits orders from Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, Atsugi sailors. The Mobile Canteen travels around Atsugi offering a variety of meals and snacks to the base community. (pnw# 61p cs) (Courtesy of U.S. Navy)
Masako Suda, operator of the Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Navy Exchange Mobile Canteen, awaits orders from Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, Atsugi sailors. The Mobile Canteen travels around Atsugi offering a variety of meals and snacks to the base community. (pnw# 61p cs)
Masako Suda, operator of the Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Navy Exchange Mobile Canteen, awaits orders from Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, Atsugi sailors. The Mobile Canteen travels around Atsugi offering a variety of meals and snacks to the base community. (pnw# 61p cs) (Courtesy of U.S. Navy)
Masako Suda, operator of the Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Navy Exchange Mobile Canteen, hands a bottle of water to Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Phillips, from the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, Atsugi. The Mobile Canteen travels around Atsugi offering a variety of meals and snacks to the base community.
Masako Suda, operator of the Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Navy Exchange Mobile Canteen, hands a bottle of water to Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Phillips, from the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, Atsugi. The Mobile Canteen travels around Atsugi offering a variety of meals and snacks to the base community. (Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

ATSUGI NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — Hungry sailors working in the hangars along Atsugi’s flight line shouldn’t have to face a long drive to get their lunchtime grub anymore.

Squadron sailors now can hail Atsugi’s new Mobile Fly-By canteen for a fast-food feast on the go.

Yokosuka Naval Base donated the restaurant on wheels, from a storage area where it sat since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said Tony Kelley, general manager of Atsugi’s Navy Exchange, which runs the food trailer.

“They graciously allowed us to take [it] to Atsugi to use,” Kelley said. “It took us two weeks to scrub it down and get all the sanitation people to approve it.”

Food service manager Steve Hollinger, who moved to Atsugi from Yokosuka, thought of borrowing the trailer to help cater special events at Atsugi.

Instead, Kelley realized it could serve the squadrons located far from the food court and galley on base.

Squadrons had been asking for more food options near their work areas, Kelley said. The base also is opening a galley nearby but otherwise, it’s at least a 10-minute drive to the main base eateries.

Sailors used to send a volunteer to fetch food for the others.

“That’s what we usually did — someone would take orders and drive around over there,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Herbert Moultrie, an aviation structural mechanic with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 14.

He and Airman Nick Elmore, with the same squadron, recently found the vehicle parked outside their hangar. They said the variety was a welcome change and the convenience was perfect.

The trailer hit the road in early June and serves about 100 people per day. Kelley said he hopes to raise that to about 250 people once a permanent route is established. He’s still taking requests from units for stops.

The trailer also will receive a fresh coat of paint soon, detailed with the name “Mobile Fly-By” to replace the Bayside logo from Yokosuka. Kelley thought of the aeronautical name to fit in with the Navy air base mission.

He hopes it sticks better than “Roach Coach” or “Food Cube,” popular names for mobile trailers at other bases.

The Fly-By is self-contained with water and electricity. It has an open-flame grill, a flat-top griddle and two deep fat fryers.

And it serves American favorites: Philly cheesesteaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, French fries and onion rings. It also will carry fresh sandwiches from the base’s Robin Hood sandwich shop and doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts.

This week, the trailer also began serving bacon, eggs and massive egg burritos for breakfast.

Japanese employee Masako Suda, who formerly worked at Dunkin’ Donuts, volunteered to operate the one-woman restaurant. She is driver, cook and server.

“She just stepped up and wanted it,” Kelley said.

Atsugi plans to run the trailer from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays as well as at special events such as baseball games. Members of the community can rent it out for events.

The trailer will stay at Atsugi as long as it makes a profit. If it doesn’t, Yokosuka will reclaim the vehicle, Kelley said, so he hopes the community will support it.

Contact Hollinger at DSN 264-3741 to arrange a lunchtime stop at a certain location or to rent the trailer.

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