JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
When most of us have settled down for dinner back at home, Airman 1st Class Carissa Vancise has only just arrived for work. When, a few hours later, we head for sleep, Vancise is just getting started. And when, sometime around midnight, we're busy dreaming about our next meals, she is busy serving them--and will be, until we rise for another day.
This is Carissa Vancise, a food service apprentice with the 628th Force Support Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.
A native of Warren, Pa., Vancise has been a member of Team Charleston since March, 2013, beginning her time at the Robert D. Gaylor Dining Facility before switching to the base's flight kitchen in October of last year. She has been working night shift ever since.
"It has its days. If we have a commander's call or squadron physical training, it makes for a more tiring night shift. But on a typical day, it's not too bad," Vancise said.
As the sole employee at the flight kitchen during night shift, Vancise has two primary jobs: to supply meals for the flightline mission and to meet customers' needs.
"Sometimes we'll get lots of meal requests at the same time," she said. "You'll be scrambling while trying to keep your customers happy. It doesn't happen that often, but when it does it can be hectic."
After arriving at work, Vancise conducts a register exchange with the Airman from the previous shift, before taking inventory and assessing what she expects to serve that night. She then begins preparing meals based on that assessment.
The flight kitchen averages 70 customers on a good night, consisting mainly of maintainers, security forces defenders and crew chiefs. Interacting with these customers is the highlight of Vancise's evening.
"I have my regulars," she said. "They come in at the same time and get the same thing. They joke around. It gives them a break. They always seem fairly pleased with the choices."
She especially enjoys opportunities to help others.
"I get the occasional customers who haven't been here for a few years," she said. "I help them navigate new policy changes. They usually leave good comment cards."
Vancise works from 5:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. She is one of many Team Charleston members who keep the mission going after dark.