Warrior brigade command team takes cues from cooks in kitchen
October 27, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- The clanging of dishes and pans against the metal countertops rang throughout the kitchen as Soldiers hastily prepared for the first meal of the day. Potato cubes dropped in the fryer, spatulas flipped flapjacks on the griddle and knives sliced fresh vegetables into pieces hours before the dining facility had even opened.
The food service specialists from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, "Warriors," 25th Infantry Division, utilized their training, experience and cohesion to cook multiple dishes simultaneously while training and accommodating two new, albeit temporary additions to their kitchen staff.
Col. Christopher Vanek, the 2nd BCT commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. William Hain, the brigade command sergeant major for 2nd BCT, assisted the food service specialists from the 225th BSB with the breakfast preparation and serving at the Warrior Inn dining facility on the morning of Oct. 18.
Vanek said the morning began with a detailed inspection of each Soldier's appearance. Uniforms, haircuts, shaves and even fingernails were scrutinized for cleanliness before any staff member entered the dining facility.
The Soldiers then briefed Vanek and Hain on recipes and optimal cooking methods. Spc. Cambria McCormick, a food service specialist with HHC, 225th BSB, showed Vanek how to split eggs and transfer the yolks without bursting them. Hain began preparing rice and potatoes with the watchful assistance of Spc. Paris Gerald, also a food service specialist with HHC, 225th BSB.
Soldiers worked diligently on their specific tasks, and the aromas from each cooking dish began to fill the kitchen. Sharing in their duties for the morning, Vanek lamented on the demands of his new environment.
"It's a lot more complicated than it looks," he said. "You definitely have to listen rather than direct; seek guidance and direction from the people who know what they're doing."
McCormick, accustomed to the hustle and flow of the kitchen atmosphere, added her perspective.
"If you think it's bad in here now, wait until serving time," McCormick said. "Wait until it's serving time, the food is running low and we have to keep things going. It will definitely make you sweat!"
In all her time as a food service specialist, Gerald said she has never had a brigade commander and command sergeant major preparing food alongside her, and expressed her gratitude for having them there.
"It's different having them here. It's almost like training a Soldier new to the unit, but instead of a private, it's a colonel or command sergeant major," Gerald said. "I appreciate them coming out here this morning though. It shows they care about what we do."
Vanek, however, said he spent some time in the kitchen with the food service specialists during his service with the 10th Mountain Division.
"A previous brigade commander I worked for at Fort Drum did this," Vanek said. "It gave me a better appreciation for the challenges our Soldiers face every day and showed them that the chain of command was interested in what they do."
Vanek said he hoped to continue sharing similar experiences with Soldiers across the brigade in the future.