By Spc. Joshua Edwards, Combined Task Force Dragoon Public Affairs August 18, 2013
Forward Operating Base Zangabad, Afghanistan -- Three of the biggest things deployed U.S. Army Soldiers look forward to everyday is breakfast, lunch and dinner. These three meals remain one of the corner stone in any successful morale boosting aspects of a deployment.
Staff Sgt. Deandria Rogers, senior food operations noncommissioned officer for 1st Squadron, Combined Task Force Dragoon, and native of Bishopville, S.C., ensures the Troops and civilians at Forward Operating Base Zangabad, Afghanistan get high performance, low calorie, balanced meals. For her it isn't just a job, it is a way to make lives better.
"I ensure that the civilians and soldiers receive properly prepared meals," said Rogers. "I oversee the civilians to make sure they are keeping within the standards. My job is important to me because this is what I love to do. I love seeing smiles on the soldiers faces when they come in from missions. It's important to me that I can make a difference in the Soldier's day."
The meals have a tendency to motivate the Soldiers and to push forward with the mission and come back to a well-deserved meal. They also have the opportunity to request specific things to eat.
"I can bring about morale and it gives them (the troops) something to look forward to," said Rogers. "They come to me with requests and I try to fulfill them. I know it gives them that much more confidence in me and makes them want to go out and do their mission. They know when they get back, they can get something to refuel with."
Pfc. Shaquille Hunter, a food service specialist also with 1st Squadron and native of Bessemer, Ala., does his part in maintaining the dining facility and making sure things run smoothly for the troops.
"At the DFAC (dining facility) at FOB Zangabad I supervise the civilian cooks we have," said Hunter. "I check temperatures, make sure the line is set up, check the storage of the food and cleanliness of the DFAC."
FOB Zangabad isn't the only location hot meals are served in the squadron's area of operations. Rogers oversees two more locations where troops are being provided with great food every day.
"I do a lot of the administrative portion of it and Pfc. Hunter, he does a lot of the overseeing as I go to other sites and check on other cooks," said Rogers. "At FOB Shoja and FOB Masum Ghar, I have two cooks on each site and they actually cook and serve another part of the 1st Squadron. They receive their rations just like we receive ours, they cook, they store it and they make sure standards are within the levels that they should be."
These cooks are happy to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Providing these meals is a way to give back to those who are doing so much for their country.
"My job is nice and it's a new experience for me," said Hunter. "It boosts morale after a long day of missions or a long day of working. I like boosting the Soldier's morale."
The Troops, in turn, appreciate the effort put into the meals and anticipate chow hours as the days pass by. Whatever the soldiers are doing, they are being taken care of.
"I love the chow here, its amazing," said Spc. Trevor Lairmore with Troop B (Bull Troop). "I look forward to it every day. It doesn't matter if we have long missions or guard shift, it's always there."