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  "Operation BBQ for Our Troops"
 June 18, 2004, at the 29 Palms Marine Base.
A write-up by Tom Chilton and pictures by everybody...
A write-up by Del King, an "After action report"



BBQ Gang Tom Chilton and the Food TV crew.  Tom Cooked all night Burbank Smoking team.  Cooked all night BBQ Brent helping John with the pig
The troops carrying Smokin' John's pig to the troops
Most, but not all, of the BBQ gang Troops and families enjoying their BBQ Food TV filming activities
Don Grissom, Dueling Bubba's, brought his pit and hung out all night tending
the fire
Tank Commander giving Del King a plaque for all his dedication and selfness work for our Marine Troops
Close-up of Del and Plaque Del getting his "just dues" and being interviewed by "Food TV"
  Tank brought up for "Show & Tell" for family, friends, and visitors  

Another successful "Operation BBQ for Our Troops" event was held June 18, 2004, at the 29 Palms Marine Base.  Approximately 30 CBBQA members and supporters rallied to feed over 300 Marines and their families some Texas-style brisket, pulled pork, chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs. 

Several teams, including Del King’s Taste of Texas BBQ, Don Grissom’s Duelin’ Bubbas with Dr. Don Iverson, Tom Chilton’s Mojave Hot Stuff BBQ, Randy Gille and Don Carpenter’s Burbank Bad Boys, and Bentley Meredith spent the night cooking the briskets and butts.  A film crew from the Food Network show "BBQ with Bobby Flay" was on hand to record the events. 

Friday morning dawned with a rumble and a roar as an M1A1 Abrams tank and a tank recovery vehicle pulled into the area.  Manning the tank recovery vehicle was the Marine who pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein using a similar vehicle. 

Several more CBBQA members arrived to help with slicing and preparing the meats, including Todd Eves, Rick Streiff, Dan Cannon, Brent Walton, and the ROTC students from Long Beach.  Also, Smokin’ John and Flaming Linda arrived with a beautiful whole pig which was presented to the battalion commander. 

Of course, no BBQ event is complete without some drama, so Tom Chilton had a pit fire in his FE-100.  Dr. Don accused him of operating a crematorium without a license.  Todd Eves asked him if he was really so desperate to get on television that he’d burn up his pit.  Although a load of chicken was lost, there were no injuries and no permanent damage to the pit.

The Marines and their families arrived, and the real pay-off to all the hard work was seeing them enjoying the BBQ.  The Battalion Commander presented Del King with a plaque and made a heart-felt speech expressing his gratitude for this and the other BBQ’s we’ve done for them.  This was another great event and we can be proud that the CBBQA was part of it.


Other sponsors of the event were BBQ’n Fools, who contributed their BBQ sauce and Signature Rub, and Out of This World BBQ Products, who also contributed rubs and seasonings.


A write-up by Del King...
 After action report...

 Operation BBQ For Our Troops:

I arrived at 29 Palms Main Gate with my friend and
helper Scott Norton (aka Squid) and checked in. First
action taken was to make sure the MP's at the Gate
hade all the information needed to get the BBQ'ers on
base later.

Went to the Community Center and secured the cooking
space area. Checked in with the Manager of the Center
to make sure everything was in place for us to cook
there all night. Everything was good to go. (A special
note is that I was told that this would be a first
they had never given anyone access to the Center for
use over night. That the word came down from the
Commanding General of the base if Tanks needed it then
Tanks was going to get it.)

At this time I made contact with Tanks and advised them
I was on base and starting to set up my pit. They sent
over a couple of Marines just to make sure we had

As the time for the other cooks got closer the wind
picked up and started to blow at 15 miles per hour
right through our cook area.

Don Grissom and Dr Don arrived and started to set up
in their assigned area with his Good One. The next to
arrive was Tom Chilton with his FE. Bentley next
arrived with his Trager and started to set up.
My cell phone rang and I was advised by Randy Gille's
wife they were running late. He had gotten off work
later than he had hoped to and had hit the rush hour

Around 6 that night Todd and Brent showed up from
their staging place at the airport to help prep the

About 6:30 the Director from the Food Network arrived
and we started to go to work making the segment for
the show.
The first thing they saw was the different type of
pits that we had out to cook. At that time we had 4
with the 5th sitting in rush hour traffic not yet
arrived. He was impressed that he would be able to
show so many different types of pits. The 6th pit was
at Smoking John and Flaming Linda's house where they
were cooking the whole pig.

The next thing they wanted for the show was to see how
we trimmed and prepped our meats before we cooked
them. For this honor I advised Todd he would be the man in
front of the camera. The wind was still blowing really
bad so we set up on the side of the building and hung
the CBBQA Banner right behind Todd. Todd went to work
explaining how to trim and the different types of
donated rubs that we use. After the was filmed we set
up a line and went to work prepping the rest of the
brisket and port butts. As I took them out of the
cryovac Todd and Dr Don was trimming. Brent went to
work applying the rub. Tom C and Bentley were placing
them in the foil pans and transporting to the pits
that were warm and waiting.

As each pit was being filled the camera was there
getting every detail from opening the pit to putting
each piece of meat in the pits. After the pits were
filmed each cook was advised don't do anything unless
you call the camera over first they wanted to get film
of everything being done. They got to film 2 different
type of pellet cookers, Don G using his Kamado
charcoal and combination of wood. The he saw the Klose
that I brought out burning just wood. It was great to
see some many different type of cookers.

After the meats were on Bentley fired up his Trager
cranked up the heat and cooked some great hamburgers
for that nights dinner. I was impressed at the job he
did and how well they came out from a pellet pusher.

About this time Todd and Brent left the base for the
other staging area to get their needed sleep and rest.

about 2 hours later Randy and his partner Don (note
too many Dons at this event) and Randy's son arrived.
Randy set up got his fire going and we transferred
meats from Don G and myself to his Longhorn pit to
finish cooking. We had a surprise from Walt of the
Palms Springs BBQ Team he drove over to see if he
could lend a hand and to visit with us during the
night. He couldn't stay be he came out to lend his

The Marines had brought over cots for use to use.
Instead of setting them up inside the building
everyone grabbed one and placed it next to their pit
to sleep and watch their fires. Great news the winds
stopped and it was calm for the rest of the night.

Some time between 530 and 6 AM just as the sun was
about to come up over the mountain range many BBQ'er
were awaken by a loud rumbling noise. As they woke and
looked towards the area of this sound they saw 2 large
vehicles coming down the street and turning onto the
dirt field next to our cooking site. Yes it was an
M1A1 Abrams Tank and a Tank Recover Vehicle (the same
kind used to pull the statue down).

After the Vehicle were parked into their places Randy
and Tom C sons both went over to the Tank to look at
it. And to their surprise they were invited to sit in
the drivers seat and then tour the rest of the Tank.
All of a sudden with both boys inside the Tank the 50
cal machine gun started moving with no one at it's
control. They boys were operating it remote control
from inside the Tank. I thought I hear some young
voice calling out from the Tank had dad I want a raise
in my allowance as the 50 cal moved back and forth.

The film crew showed up and started filming the
Marines and their equipment. About this time the
reinforcements showed up. Todd and Brent arrived with
more help Dan Cannon and partner Rick and right behind
them Joe a teacher from Long Beach Poly high school
with 6 JROTC students.

We set up tables to slice the brisket. I wanted to
give the Marines a different style of BBQ this time
and serve sliced instead of chopped brisket. They
filed each pit taking off their meats and taking them
to Dan Cannon and Brent for slicing. As the slicing
went on we prepped the legs and thighs to put onto the

Smoking John arrived with the whole pig. We moved some
vehicles around and park his rig at the side of the
building and plugged in his pellet cooked to finish
the pig and keep it warm until time to present it to
the Commanding Officer.

After parking John I walked back to the cooking area
and to my surprise Tom C was making a burnt offering
sacrifice to the BBQ Gods offering up our chicken and
his pit. It worked he was able to please the Gods
everything came out great. We might have lost about a
3rd of the chicken but I just hope his cooker will be
ok. The chicken was just to supplement the main meat of
The film crew went from pit to pit and interviewed
each cook as to why they were there to support the
Marines. I do not know what was said I finally got
away from the film crew and was busy setting things in
motion with the mess Gunny getting ready to serve.

I am tired of typing but you have the jest of what
happened. When the Change of Command ceremony was over
the Marines started to arrive to our area. We waited
for the Commanding Officer and presented him with the
whole pig as a gift from his men and their families.
This man was so touched it brought a tear to his eye.
He said he didn't deserve such a gift it was he how
should be presenting something to his great men.
Smoking John sliced off a piece of pig gave it to him
and he declared this pig fit for eating.

The ROTC student took their places behind the serving
lines and the serving started.

I must note that during the course of the night I
stressed on the fact that we were going to serve
sliced brisket and that I knew how easy it is for
brisket to dry out. With 4 different pits cooking I
kept on the cooks about it must be moist and tender.
Every cook there would have been proud to have turn
their product in at a contest it was moist and tender.

A special note for Randy and his team. We have a great
set of cooker there. These guys drove rush hour
traffic from Burbank cooked all night. Randy had to
get back to Burbank before 330 PM on Friday. So after
what they went through to get to 29 Palms and cooking
all night they had to load up and drive back home that
day. They didn't get to stay and enjoy the thanks and
well wishes of the Marines. 30 minutes after they left I
stressed out counting the number of pans of brisket.
One was missing. The only thing I could think of is
Randy has it in his warmed. Calls were made all over
Southern California trying to get the cell number to
contact Randy. He was contacted and he checked his
pit it was empty. The missing pan of brisket was found
one of the mess cooks had placed it in the Centers
kitchen so it would be close when he needed a new pan
for the line. (I have to check and see if I got any
grey hairs on that one) As it turned out this time we
barely had enough meat to go around. There was just a
few plate full left for to go containers.

All in All the members of the CBBQA that showed up
to support this event did a great job and deserve a pat
on the back. I hope that when the Bobby Flay show does
air that it presents a positive image of the Marines
and the CBBQA and all the donors.





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