Maj. Gen. Kenneth Kamper, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, approved a memorandum Dec. 13, 2022, that allows all Soldiers and Marines residing in permanent-party barracks to perform light-duty cooking. Whether or not a kitchenette is present in the barracks, Soldiers and Marines can now utilize several indoor cooking appliances such as crock pots, George Foreman Grills, and instant pots to prepare their own meals.

Light Cooking
Cpl. Chase Nelson adds rice to an instant pot. Nelson is able to do light cooking in the barracks because of a change in regulation. (Photo Credit: Ashley Kutac) VIEW ORIGINAL

When asked why this safety standard was changed, Command Sgt. Maj. William Taylor, Garrison command sergeant major, narrowed it down to improving their lives in the barracks.

“Soldiers this day and age like to prepare their own meals. It goes into their quality of life and helps them with their mental feelings surrounding being in the barracks.”

Before the memorandum was passed CSM Taylor, the Fire Department, and the Safety Office discussed safety concerns. Since some barracks kitchenettes do not have a fire suppression system, it was important for these parties to implement safety means and advise Soldiers and Marines on how to best mitigate risks.

“It came down to what would be allowed to be used to cook and the type and size fire extinguisher that needed to be present,” said Taylor. According to the memorandum there must be 10lb AMB fire extinguisher present when the service members are cooking.

Quality of Living
If Soldiers want to improve their quality of living in the barracks, it is recommended that they reach out to their BOSS unit representative or attend town halls. (Photo Credit: Ashley Kutac) VIEW ORIGINAL

For any Soldier looking to enact new changes, they are advised to bring their idea to the BOSS program or their Unit BOSS representative. Taylor also encouraged Soldiers to attend their quarterly town halls.

“I attend those forums and listen to any grievances. That’s where this (memorandum) came from several months ago, it just took some time to figure out how to get to ‘yes’.”

Taylor said as someone who spent years as a single Soldier in the barracks, he understands the value of being able to cook for yourself. He shared his favorite barracks recipe: “Chicken breast soaked in Italian dressing for about 48 hours in the refrigerator and thrown on a George Foreman Grill.”