GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- "An army marches on its stomach," said no less an authority than French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, or so the story goes. More than 200 years have passed since that famous saying, but keeping Soldiers fed and fit in today's world remains as important as ever. That timeless goal of caring for the well-being of their fellow comrades is what drives the logistical Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
The 2-12th is part of an emergency deployment readiness exercise that is a part of the US Army's readiness initiative to ensure that U.S. military units can deploy around the world on short notice. In the case of the 2-12th leadership, they were given two weeks to prepare their battalion from Fort Carson, Colo. to go to Europe. That task came with all of the supplies needed for the infantry soldiers that would be staying at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany. 1st Lt. Jarrett Mackey, the executive officer from Forward Support Company, 2-12th, describes the process of keeping over 600 Soldiers well fed for a month.
"Once these guys got on the ground it was just training non-stop so we played a lot of catch-up to get them well supplied. I mean, they were doing live fire drills within 48 hours of getting here," he said.
The battalion had to be supplied with three meals a day for every soldier on the deployment. That means more than 44,000 meals had to be planned for and delivered to hungry troops over three weeks of training. Such a challenging task was made even more difficult with the unit only receiving two weeks notice before leaving the U.S.
Not only did meals need to be provided for Soldiers, but ammunition, fuel and other supplies had to be acquired and distributed. Mackey needed to plan for the Soldiers that would be doing live fire drills almost every day. This came out to over 70,000 bullets used, along with hundreds of other rounds of higher caliber ammunition.
Since the soldiers of the 2-12th arrived at Nuremberg Airport and moved to Grafenwoehr, there haven't been too many restful moments for the logisticians involved. Mackey gave critical insight to just what it takes for his team to succeed.
"There was a lot of jumping through hoops, but I attribute our success to the strength of my Soldiers and their ability to overcome the adversity. That's my greatest take away from this experience," he said.
Yet despite all the hard work and long hours, the soldiers of the 2-12th responsible for feeding, fueling and caring for their fellow troops work with smiles on their faces. To them the daily struggles they face are all worth the effort. Spc. Oluwatobi Oke, a cook with Company H, 2-12th explained why her job matters to her and what makes the daily grind worthwhile.
"It's a challenge, but it's good to know we're keeping our fellow soldiers happy," she said.