Food Fighters: Providing fuel for the troops
June 22, 2010
- Army cooks of Operation Golden Cargo 2010 at Crane Army Ammunition Activity ensure Soldiers are well fed.
CRANE ARMY AMMUNITION ACTIVITY, Ind. -- They awaken from sleep earlier than other Soldiers, providing a critical element to the warfighter. However, their instruments of battle are not weapons, but kitchen utensils. They wield not M4 rifles and grenades, but egg-beaters and ladles. They are the Army cooks of Operation Golden Cargo (OGC) 2010 at Crane Army Ammunition Activity.
One of these culinary warriors is Pfc. Angela Thacker of the 846th Transportation Company.
"Normally, we report in at 1:30 a.m. to start preparing breakfast," said Thacker, a full-time student in her civilian life. "We'll finish up at eight, then get a break before we come back at 1 p.m. to work on dinner, before wrapping things up at around 10."
It's one long, difficult work day, but the gratification Thacker gets from her job outweighs the grueling hours, she said.
"Soldiers need a good meal to do a good job," Thacker said. "They need to be healthy and have enough energy throughout the day. I get satisfaction knowing Soldiers aren't hungry during the long hours they're on the road."
OGC also provides a fertile training ground, said Sgt. Steven Ollie, the first cook of the 846th.
"Golden Cargo gives us a great opportunity to train and mentor," Ollie said. "We have three NCOs and 12 Soldiers, and we're constantly working with them to make them better and learn from their mistakes."
The experience these Soldiers gain from their participation, particularly utilizing the Mobile Kitchen Trailer, is invaluable, Ollie said.
"When they're deployed, they need to be able to perform," he said.
Thacker agreed with her supervisor.
"This prepares me and puts me in the proper state of mind," Thacker said. "Also, I get a lot of practice working on the MKT, which is helpful. I have to understand what to do and how to do it."
Despite the fact that the crew of cooks work in a cramped atmosphere and at a frantic pace, as Soldiers file up the steps of the MKT to be served on the main line, everyone maintains their collective cool, Thacker said.
"As long as everyone knows their role, things go rather smoothly," she said.