Cooks warm hearts during training
December 3, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas -- During a field training exercise Soldiers are required to have basic combat needs in order to complete the mission such as medical support, fuel and hot meals.
To keep Soldiers' morale high and stomachs full, Forward Support Company F, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, has the difficult task of serving meals to seven different units assigned to the brigade during their Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise.
"We serve hot meals to 750 Soldiers a day, this is not an easy task since we have to be up before all Soldiers in the field do," said Sergeant 1st Class Noel Black a Richport, Conn., native and the operations food service manager for Company F. "Our schedule starts at 1:30 in the morning and we start preparing for our daily meals."
The 3rd BCT is conducting a 10-day training exercise designed to test the capabilities of the brigade's six battalions. During this training the units' individual strengths and weaknesses will be identified.
This CALFX is the final stepping stone in preparation for a one-month long rotation to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif.
Food service specialists that have deployed to combat environments feel this type of training exceeds their expectations, and this is the best training that they can receive prior to a NTC rotation or deploying to any hardship environment.
"There is a big difference of working in the dinning facility and working in a Mobile Kitchen," said Spc. Monica Angeles Binford, a food service specialist and native of Sacramento, Calif. "Here we have to do everything from supplying our own material, utensils and food for us to cook and still having to deliver it to seven different units that we are supporting during this training," she said.
Soldiers' work schedules usually begin at 6:30 a.m. when they have to report to physical training but the cooks have already been working for five hours. The hours are long and the schedule is demanding but it shows to be a rewarding job. Here, the gratification is when the scoop hits the plate and you see a Soldier with a smile.
Being a cook in a field environment is hard, but the reactions of Soldiers and words of gratification when they receive their first hot plate of the day are what helps them understand the importance of their job.
"Being a cook during a training environment is not easy," Binford said. "This training is hard but it will have us ready for any type of deployment environment that we can be tasked with."