FORT LEE, Va. – Once upon a time, she roamed the halls of McLaughlin Hall as a young culinary student, not so sure about the future but eager to learn.
Twenty-four years later, she is walking those same halls with the authority and confidence of a leader and a Soldier, one who will manage her last meals here as a culinary professional.
“It’s kind of bitter and kind of sweet,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Eveline Rosado-Haliday, who will retire in October as chief, Advanced Culinary Training Division located in the same building where she trained as a 20-year old. “This is where it all began for me learning how to be what was known then as a ‘cook’ and now a culinary specialist.”
Rosado-Haliday, ACTD’s first female chief, manages the Advanced Culinary Course and is largely responsible for the annual Joint Culinary Training Exercise serving to improve the skills of culinarians across the U.S. military.
Furthermore, she manages the Army Culinary Team, which selects team members from JCTE and competes in international events.
For Rosado-Haliday, her last assignment is an improbable finale to a career that started out like many others: clouded in uncertainty.
“I was an average young adult not to long out of high school trying to find a way and making a decision to join the Army,” said the 45-year-old. “I wasn’t quite sure my parents were all onboard, but it was me finding my path.”
Rosado-Haliday’s parents -- Sergeants 1st class Miguel and Margaret Rosado – were career Soldiers and the reasons their daughter hopped on the path in the first place. They demonstrated to their four children hard work and resilience in the face of challenges that are companion to military service.
“For me, I think it was seeing my mother and father do what they do and be my role models,” she said. “It kind of guided me. The Army supported them well, and I thought it was a great decision in choosing to join the Army.”
Margaret’s life story was especially resonating to her daughter. As a six-year old, she was one of eight siblings put into foster care, and “her way out and to a better life was through the military,” said Rosado-Haliday. “The path that led her (into the) Army also led me in to become successful at what I do.”
Joining the Army is one thing. Finding the right career is something different. Rosado-Haliday’s initial enlistments were somewhat aimless, until, that is, she bumped into the technically acute and downright vivacious chief warrant officer Williams at a 2004 field exercise.
“I was stationed at Fort Sill (Okla.) and we went down to Fort Hood (Texas) for a training exercise,” recalled Rosado-Haliday, noting Williams’ first name and rank escapes her. “A whole bunch of units was there and I met her. She was so energized about food service, and I was like, ‘That’s what I want to be, and If I’m going to stay in the Army, that’s where I need to be.’ At that point, I was in for the long haul.”
The chance encounter with Williams pushed Rosado-Haliday to improve her GT score (a component of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test) to fulfill the requirements of submitting a packet for warrant officer school.
Rosado-Haliday was selected for the warrant officer course in 2006.
Among her first challenges as a warrant officer was a deployment to Iraq in 2007. The 15-month tour with the 168th Brigade Support Battalion was her first and her most memorable.
“I had never been to a foreign country and never been in a deployment atmosphere,” she said.
Additionally, although she was never in any danger, Rosado-Haliday said the memory of being in a deployment environment lingers to this day.
“There were occasional bombings,” she recalled, noting a high state of alert was the norm at her Camp Liberty location. “Even to this day, if you hear something going off, you’re looking all around to kind of see where it’s coming from.”
The Lawton, Okla. native went on to complete two additional overseas tours.
In full realization of her accomplishments over the course of two decades, Rosado-Haliday sees herself as a trailblazer, an outside-the-box thinker who can stand up against convention.
“I feel like a trailblazer, someone not afraid of doing something different,” she said. “Even coming into this position, I’m OK with learning something new from a different aspect, especially from a culinary perspective.”
In her first year as chief, Rosado-Haliday accompanied the Army Culinary Arts Team to the German culinary Olympics, where it earned a silver medal in the military category. She had previously never been a member of any culinary team.
Rosado-Haliday is also a trailblazer when it comes to motivating troops. She makes herself accessible to those needing guidance concerning jobs, careers and other issues.
“Whatever position I’m in, I try to make sure I’m having an impact on Soldiers, helping them progress in their careers or our organization,” she said.
Rosado-Haliday said one of the best ways to motivate Soldiers is to show and demonstrate genuine concern. That was her ‘bread-and-butter’ approach as the food service advisor for the 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
“I’d ask how they’re doing, what they’re working on and where the recipe cards are,” she said of her preceding assignment. “It’s a way of motivating them and also checking on them to see are they’re doing what they need to do.”
At the ACTD, Rosado-Haliday is still motivating Soldiers, albeit, there are less opportunities to do so due to the relatively short time she is exposed to students. The experience, however, has opened up her aperture concerning the value of advanced skills as a critical component to improving food service at the ground level.
“It educates food service Soldiers and promotes better food service overall,” she said.
Approaching the final chapter of her military career, Rosado-Haliday said she is proud of her accomplishments. She hopes she has left marks on Soldiers as well as the career field. If she could express it in words, she would be quite succinct.
“I’d like people to know I was all in,” she said.
Rosado-Haliday will spend her retirement life with husband Bradley Haliday, a retired warrant officer, and their three children, ages 4, 9 and 20.