Most folks, including many in uniform, haven’t heard of enlisted aides, or EAs, much less what their contributions to national security are.
But last night, leaders from around the Defense Department put a spotlight on them at the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore 21st Annual Salute to Military Chefs and Enlisted Aides here.
Even TV celebrity chef Robert Irvine was there, heaping healthy portions of praise on the EAs.
So what is so special and important about EAs?
First and foremost, EAs are trained culinary specialists. They don’t have to have that military occupational specialty to begin with, but they receive the training upon selection to the enlisted aide program and it becomes their secondary specialty.
That training is important because the flag officer they’re assigned to often hosts social events with meals, often involving U.S. or world military or civilian leaders.
Preparing the right food in the proper manner is so important to establishing these types of relationships, as bonds of friendships and trust are often formed over meals, said Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Selva’s own EA, Air Force Master Sgt. Jennifer Medeiros, was first qualified as a dental hygienist. She has deployed multiple times, including to Afghanistan.
During one of her…