MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Yuma -- When people think of Aircraft Rescue Firefighting, they may imagine brave Marines, willing to run into a blazing wreckage of an aircraft crash when everyone else is staying clear of the crash.
Sgt. Zachary D. Pescar, an ARFF senior rescue man on station, is all of these things, but he also enjoys cooking for the Marines in the ARFF unit, according to Staff Sgt. Charles T. Dine, ARFF section leader.
"Sergeant Pescar is a real good cook," said Cpl. Alan W. Smith, ARFF crew chief. "I haven't eaten anything he's made that wasn't really good. I would eat Sergeant Pescar's food before I eat at the chow hall any day."
Pescar's love of cooking started when he was eight years old, when he would help his mom in the kitchen.
"I started by helping my mom make cookies and brownies," said Pescar, an Escondido, Calif., native. "I really enjoyed helping my mom in the kitchen, so I kept it up. In high school, I took a home economics class. After learning the basics, I slowly progressed. I started making more difficult meals that required more time," he added.
Sgt. Pescar has been in the Marine Corps for seven and a half years and is a reservist assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 473 in Miramar, Calif. He was sent here when Active Duty Special Work asked for volunteers to come to Yuma. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.
"I volunteered when I heard Yuma was the busiest air base in the Marine Corps," said Pescar. "I was here before with the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course."
Pescar started cooking for the Marines and himself, mainly to provide a little variety of food.
"I started cooking lunch here because I really enjoy cooking. Me and the other guys here got tired of the same food at the chow hall," said Pescar.
Pescar said he wanted to add a little more variety to the options that the ARFF Marines had when it came to eating. Variety is a good thing. You can never have too many options, he added.
Pescar likes to try to make different kinds of foods and not stick to just one specific type.
"I like to try cooking recipes I've tasted," said Pescar. "If I like it then I'll try making it. I'm always up for a challenge. I will try to cook anything."
"One time, Pescar tried making a Chinese chicken salad even though neither of us knew how to actually make the salad," said Dine. "In the end it came out awesome."
Most of the Marines have their own favorite meals from Pescar's cookbook. Smith's favorite is chicken parmesan and Dine prefers his shrimp New Orleans recipe, while Pescar himself thinks his tequila chicken is the best. They all agree everything Pescar makes is of the best quality.
Pescar doesn't just make a great lunch. He often cooks breakfast for the ARFF Marines.
"Pescar often makes pancakes stuffed with apricot jelly and cream cheese for us in the morning," said Dine. "He makes boysenberry pancakes topped with powdered sugar too."
He makes more than just pancakes though, said Smith. He makes the basic breakfast meal of bacon, eggs and crepes.
Unfortunately, the Marines of Aircraft Rescue Firefighting will be losing their chef soon. Pescar is slated to return to his reserve unit Saturday.
"I'm sorry to see him go," said Dine. "Sergeant Pescar is a tremendous asset to this unit. He's expressed to me that he would like to come back. I would like to get him back here, and not just for his cooking either."