HT-18 Gardens Their Way to Victory

Published on July 18, 2014 with No Comments

IMG_4142You may not be able to carry a gun or drive a tank, but you can grow food for Victory! These words were what many individuals took to heart during both World Wars when produce was being rationed to support the troops overseas.

In 1944 nearly 20 million Americans had contributed to the war efforts by planting a victory garden. These home and community gardens acted as a morale booster for the citizens knowing that there hard work was supporting the troops overseas. During the war, these gardens helped provided over one third of the produced consumed in the United States equal to the amount of commercially grown produce at the time.

Following the war many people stopped planting victory gardens due to greater availability of food. Since the turn of the twenty first century however; interest in planting gardens has grown. In 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama planted a garden on the White House Lawn, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt during WWII.

Naval Air Station Whiting Field began growing victory gardens four years ago as a way to remember and honor those challenging times. Additionally, it has been used to spur some friendly competition between the different departments and squadrons on base.

The competitors each brought something special to the competition. Fixed Wing Training Squadron Three (VT-3) incorporated a camping style theme. Training Air Wing Five created a completely organic garden where the soil was made from composted tests of students. Helicopter Training Squadron Eight (HT-8) presented a wholesome garden that was full of plump tomatoes and peppers ready to make some salsa. The Navy Exchange brought in a mascot named Sarge, a full-blooded basset hound. Building 1401 used tomatoes basil, oregano jalapenos, green peppers, and squash to make a tasty pizza.  Helicopter Training Squadron 18 (HT-18) utilized an original WWI booklet following it step by step to grow their garden along with dressing up and adding a WWII them. The Child Development Center’s garden, that the children helped grow, provided delicious mint tea. Lastly, the Morale Welfare and Recreation RV Park had bountiful garden’s grown in raised beds that were tended by individuals who resided in the park and other members from the MWR.

Commanding Officer Naval Air Station Whiting Field Capt. Matthew Coughlin said, “This years’ competition was an incredible effort by all hands. It was really difficult to pick winners because each was truly noteworthy.”

Coughlin and Cmdr. Ryan Yost Chief Staff Officer TRAWING 5 judged the gardens and awarded HT-18 for being the most authentic garden based on an original “Victory Garden Guide” from WWI. The Second place award for the “Most Bountiful” garden went to the MWR RV Park. The RV Park’s Garden produced the largest vegetables ever observed by the voting officials. The Third Place award for the “Most Holistic” garden went to Training Air Wing Five. TRAWING 5’s garden had a very dense concentration of exotic vegetables from around the world.

“You can’t beat the taste of those pickles you made. They remind me of the ones my mother used to make out of our garden when I was a child” Coughlin said before presenting HT-18 with the trophy for growing the best overall garden.

The members of HT-18 who helped grow this garden were Chief Naval Air crewman  Steve Bean, Caren Thompson, Paula Eagen, Kathy Lord, Lt. Cmdr. Scott Thompson, Cmdr. Kevin Pickard Commanding Officer HT-18, Lt. Col. Rafford Coleman Executive officer HT-18, and his wife Shannon Coleman.  1st Lt. Michal L. Hourigan USMC is no longer with HT-18 after winging May 23rd but Hourigan assisted with the garden and hand painted the art work that solidified HT-18’s theme for the competition.

“Working in the garden this year was a blast. It was a great way to get out of the office and strengthen the relationships amongst everyone who helped out,” stated Kathy Lord.

Posted in Military, News

No Comments

There are currently no comments on HT-18 Gardens Their Way to Victory. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment