Flying Steaks to Afghanistan

Says Tom Del Valle, senior vice president of AA's Airport Services, "We are glad to be able to provide air transportation for Steak Team Mission, and to support our men and women in uniform."

Newcomers are welcome, too. Terry Castle will leave his comfortable existence as a retiree in Plano, Texas, for the mission to Afghanistan next month (he was able to provide Gough with a Marine contact to get this particular trip rolling). Ask Castle why he's going, and he simply says, "It's a very, very worthy cause" and adds that Gough is a "great American patriot."

Gough doesn't like hearing that. What he does like is seeing the faces of all those far-from-home soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines when the team plunks down a perfectly done steak in front of them.

But the most emotional mission was not at some far-flung base; it was at home, at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio last November, when the team fed about 1,000 wounded warriors and their families.

Many of these diners were literally recovering from the scars of battle. "Seeing a 19- or 20-year-old kid coming through the steak line without a leg or missing an arm or they're burned and they've got their wife and little baby with them, it's just…" For once, Gough has no words.

But that doesn't last too long. Gough is talking about the next adventure, in Afghanistan. And no, he doesn't worry about mundane things like land mines: "I've done enough interesting things in my life, and besides, if it's my time to go, it's my time."

Now, back to those tenderloins.

"My preference is rare to medium-rare," he says knowingly. But not to worry -- when it comes to the men and women on the front lines or here at home, he'll cook them any way they want them.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations that include ABC News, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Associated Press and Bloomberg. His website, FareCompare.com, offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deals.

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