Tag Archives: Army

Year 1 Week 3: Happy Birthday America! What it’s all about.

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This post is dedicated to SSG Montes, SSG Patterson and SSG Pernell of the United States Army Recruiting Center. Thank You Gentlemen for your service.

Standing at the grill, I carefully flipped a burger for Staff Sergeant Carlos Montes from the Harrisburg U.S. Army Recruiting Center and I thought about a fourth of July 40 years ago.

I was six years old for America’s Bicentennial in 1976. Being a kid from South Jersey’s blue-collared suburbs, I lived in the shadow of the birthplace of America. Just over the bridge, a short subway ride away, towered the dirty, racially tense City of Brotherly Love. To a fat south Jersey kid, Philadelphia was the house of the Broad Street Bullies, where the Flyers beat the Buffalo Sabres a year earlier to win the Stanley Cup. It was the home of America’s first zoo, Rocky,  the Liberty Bell, cheese steaks and Independence Hall.

Philadelphia has always been a city of contrasts. In 1976 the City placed the “Love” sculpture in JFK Plaza. That same year the city had over 700 murders and the unemployment rate was 11.3 percent. Today, Philly has the worst poverty rate of the ten largest U.S Cities but has 11 billionaires who made the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list. For every “Rocky” story  that Philadelphia gives birth, you’ll find ten stories of violence, poverty, drug addiction and despair. For every Saint Katherine Drexel or Saint John Newman the city creates, there are ten thousand pimps, drug dealers,freaks, felons, mobsters, thieves and miscreants that call Philadelphia home  . For every Margaret Meade or Issac Asimov created by Philadelphia, a thousand desperate souls never realize their full potential or find their brilliance and live their dream. Philadelphia you see, is not like America, Philadelphia is America. It’s the same scenario from sea to shining sea.

The food truck was hot as I carefully ladled and extra-large scoop of bacon jam on the roll. I desperately wanted SSG Montes to enjoy his meal. It was the most important event of Dave’s and my day. More important than making money. More important than gaining fans. More important than anything. I thought back to 1976.

I remember watching the ships in the harbour on TV. I remember parades and sparklers and block parties with tipsy Uncle Sams and Ben Franklin. I can still smell charcoal, hot dogs and beer.

As a kid, I was unaware of the heavy, social, moral and political implications of the big city. Through my eyes, I understood the historical significance of Philly but in my fragile mind, the urban experience was a kaleidoscope of fun times at zoos, sporting events, museums, fireworks, parades and parks. To me, it really was the City of Brotherly Love.

A whiff of charred burger jarred me back to 2016.

I make no apologies for Philadelphia or America for that matter. The wise old guys in triangle hats gave us a shot. America doesn’t owe you anything. Philadelphia doesn’t owe you anything. Let me make something clear:The Declaration of Independence is really specific about what God gives us. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. These unalienable Rights are transformational. It gives the drug addict the chance to someday become the Doctor. The thief could choose to be a lawyer. The sinner can create a path to sainthood. The poor have a chance at prosperity. There are no guarantees of happiness. I think the greatest gift our country gives us is not only the opportunity to succeed, but also to fail . It’s entirely up to you.

My wife Michelle handed SSG Carlos Montes the perfect Guerrilla Burger and he shared his story.go army

” My mom brought me to America from Honduras when I was 14. To me, I associated America with great things in my childhood. In Honduras the American missionaries brought books and clothes. I had fun at Sunday school.”

He continued,” When we first came to America we lived in Florida and I was really confused because everyone spoke Spanish. I taught myself english by studying and watching television.”

” Years later, I had a good job at a law firm and September 11 happened and I couldn’t resist joining the Army. People told me that I was nuts to leave my good job to serve in the military. I felt like it was something that I had to do.”

” I’m proud to be a part of the 1% of Americans who serve in the United States Military. Ironically,  my son goes to boot camp on September 11th of this year.”

I shot a look at Dave and our eyes spoke to one another, ” That’s what it’s all about.”

 

When you’re celebrating America’s Birthday have fun. Hug your kids. Kiss your spouse beneath the rockets red glare. Enjoy yourself. Pursue your Happiness.

After the charcoal in your grill smolders to a white ash and the orange glow of sparklers lose their luster and turn sooty black, tuck your kids in bed knowing that Staff Sergeant Carlos Montes and his son are willing to sacrifice their lives to defend yours. And if you could,  in the stillness in your heart, ask your creator to keep all of our military safe. It’s the very least we can do.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 73: Sneak Peek Guerrilla Uniforms

An soldier’s uniform is a a source of pride. He painstakingly makes sure his creases are sharp. The medals that he has earned are shined and positioned properly. Even the angle that he wears his hat, the shine on his shoes and his personal hygiene are scrutinized by by military specifications. The name of the game is precision, A soldier must look sharp. It’s no different in a food truck so at Guerrilla Canteen we would like to uphold military uniform standards ( with tongue firmly planted in cheek.) Continue reading Day 73: Sneak Peek Guerrilla Uniforms

Day 71: A Guerrilla Never Bows to Tyranny

If you came to this blog today to read about some cutesy piece on how great fried Oreos taste or a top ten list of the coolest celebrity Chefs, stop reading now. If you want street food recipes or a humorous story from my kitchen, read this blog another day. The Guerrilla’s are going to get political today. Continue reading Day 71: A Guerrilla Never Bows to Tyranny

A Call To Action

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Today I’m not going to talk about food trucks, or recipes or silly cultural refernces. I need to tell you about something that is serious and close to the Guerrilla’s hearts. It’s no secret that we love our veterans and try to support them any way that we can. I’m not going to ask you for money or a lot of time. What I’m going to ask you for is your love and to pass this on to anyone that you would think could help. This needs to be done quickly.

I received this text from my friend Becky.

Would you consider helping me on a family project? My uncle is a retired Army General. He will be celebrating his 95th birthday next week. We would like to get 95 or more birthday cards sent to him. He is the last survivor of nine brothers (eight out of the nine brothers served in WWII and Korean War.) Please let me know if you would like to participate. I’m challenging all those veterans out there to help brighten a fellow vet’s day! God Bless.

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General Pope’s birthday is on July 22 so if you want to help with this project you need to get to a mailbox quickly.Let’s brighten the General’s day with a flood of birthday wishes. See if we can make this go viral.

Editors note. Thanks to you graciously sending General Pope cards and letters, his mailbox was stuffed and his 95th birthday was a memorable one.

Day 42: In Honor

In Honor
                     A rough conceptualization of the “Wall of Heroes” layout

Dave came over today and we lamented the fact that the estimate hadn’t come in for the back door build. We decided  to work on the back door as far as the design for the “Wall of Heroes”. It is a project that is extremely close to our hearts. It is part of our business culture and we both feel a big responsibility to get this part right. To the Guerrillas, this is as important as purchasing the right grill, or choosing a lawyer or developing exceptional recipes.

Dave and I don’t always agree and sometimes we bump heads. Our skirmishes are usually over minor stuff.  We are both stubborn, passionate, artistic and driven and we both have a tendency to dig in.  With the “Wall of Heroes”, this wasn’t the case.

The process was more of a casual meeting of the minds where both parties agreed on everything. We like what we designed and we believe that it is an appropriate and respectful tribute to the fallen and those who serve us. We think it’s going to look sharp and are excited to see the final product.

The emblems for all the represented armed forces as well as the police and fire are exactly the same dimensions, ten inches. The “In Honor” graphic is slightly larger at almost 12 inches. The way you see the layout in the image will probably change, but all the components are going to appear on the “Wall of Heroes”.  I forgot to put the POW/MIA  emblem in the picture, but that is represented also.

The Bell
The Bell

Last week the bell that we are going to mount on the back of the truck arrived and we are really excited to add that component to the tribute. The idea is that whenever a veteran, active military, police or firefighter signs the wall, the bell is rung to honor those who serve and have served. The bell is loud and we feel that it will be a handsome addition to our truck.

I placed the order for the vinyl graphics and Dave headed home. I felt good about the decisions that we made and thought about my Uncle Buster who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. I daydreamed about tales told by old salts in bars about the sinking of their ships and swimming through burning diesel fuel. I thought about the men from my father’s generation returning home from Vietnam only to be spat upon.

My phone vibrated and I answered it. It was Dave.

” I just got the estimate for the back door. We can bring Maybelline over to the shop tomorrow.”