SAMARRA, Iraq (American Forces Press Service, Dec. 18, 2006) - It's another day in Iraq. It's 5 a.m. Do you know where your cook is'

The 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment soldiers at Forward Operating Base Brassfield-Mora may not know, but they certainly know where to find them at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Working long hours, seven days a week the advantages of government contracting haven't been obvious to the Brassfield-Mora cooks like it has been to other cooks. Still, it doesn't matter to these cooks, said Sgt. Hegberto Brugado, 82nd Brigade Support Battalion shift supervisor.

"We have gotten used to it," Brugado concluded. "It's a day-to-day process. The soldiers would rather do this than just stand around doing nothing at all. This gives the time to actually hone their skills. They know where their job is. We are in Brassfield-Mora and its small little world over here and we enjoy it."

Although the hours are long, there are benefits to the entire cooking process, Brugado said.

"Our new soldiers have had a little bit of hands-on training while they were at AIT (Advance Individual Training) but this time they had a better idea of putting out the effort, how to run it and how to maintain the equipment," Brugado said. "Being out here, doing this without a real garrison dining facility, we can have more eyes on our soldiers making sure they are doing the right thing.

"I think us doing it, especially the young guys helps," he continued. "These young guys need to learn how to work with our equipment. This is basically a training environment for us, even though this is a combat zone."

"It's preparing them for the new guys when they go back and have to deal with the stuff there," added Spc. Justin Perez, 82nd BSB.

It may be somewhat of a training environment for these soldiers, but still they know their job is important to the mission.

"All these soldiers are out there patrolling, doing dismounts so when they come back I want to make sure they have something good to eat and put a smile on their face," Brugado said.

"It feels good providing them hot chow," Perez added. "It's getting cold out there and they are coming in here, eating something hot and putting food in their belly. It's good that we have a little safe haven here."

"Since we, soldiers, are providing meals I actually feel better because I am actually doing my job out here, not just doing head count," Brugado said. "I would rather do my job and see that whatever I put out makes people happy."

Enjoying work may be one thing but the cooks at FOB Brassfield-Mora know another one thing for sure: It is 8:30 p.m. and it's time for them to go home, so they can begin another day of cooking tomorrow."