By Sgt. Blair Neelands, 1st Brigade Combat Team JournalistApril 5, 2012
While the more than 3,000 Soldiers of 1st Brigade Combat Team continuously train hard, food service specialists in the dining facility work seemingly endless hours to provide three hearty meals a day, seven days a week to the Warrior Brigade.
Normally in a dining facility, there would be two shifts where Soldiers either work in the morning or the afternoon, but in the last month, all of the 1st BCT cooks have been doing "all day action," which is known as ADA within the food service community.
"These Soldiers work from 5:30 a.m. until about 8 p.m. every day," said Sgt. 1st Class Shantay Mayfield, dining facility manager with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Brigade Support Battalion.
To boost the Soldiers' morale, Mayfield, along with all of the food service noncommissioned officers, created an incentive program where nine trophies are awarded in three different categories to Soldiers every quarter.
"There are three categories: top motivated, top chef and best uniform," Mayfield said. "The Soldiers vote for who they think should win in each category. We tally up the votes and give out first-, second- and third- place trophies for each. It gives the Soldiers something to look forward to."
In addition to ADA, the cooks, with the help of the civilian workers, kicked it into overdrive in preparation for the visit by the Food Management Assistance Team out of Fort Lee, Va. The three-man team, consisting of an NCO and two Department of the Army civilians, travel year-round to various dining facilities.
"We are not an inspection team, we are an assistance team," said Ron Bellamy, the team's food service systems analyst. "We come out to render assistance and recommendations to the quality of food and service. We make sure guidance is being met. Also, if Fort Drum is doing something great here, we like to take that back with us to share it with the rest of the Army."
During the visit at the Warrior Dining Facility, Bellamy was impressed with the all of the brigade cooks.
"What's impressive is these Soldiers here are doing one shift; that's some long hours," Bellamy said. "And their morale is still high. That says a lot about the dining facility manager, because it starts from the top."
Mayfield doesn't take the credit though; she says it was all the Soldiers.
"They perform exceptionally well on a daily basis," she said. "Everyone pulls together and works as a team. Morale was so high that day. They made me so proud to be a (food service specialist) and the manager of the 1st Brigade Dining Facility."
Before leaving, Bellamy, along with team members Roderick Piggott and Master Sgt. Walter Moore, sat down with the facility leadership to discuss what they saw during their visit.
"They gave us some guidance on a few things we could improve on, like equipment, inventory and admin," Mayfield said. "They are an experienced team, so we took what they had to say in high regards. With what they told us and where we stand now, I look forward to us winning 3rd Quarter Best Dining Facility on Fort Drum."
Along with the FMAT visit last week, some 1st BCT cooks were recognized for their achievements in various culinary competitions.
Sgt. Stephen Kastory and Spc. Anthony Murray, both with F Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, won 10th Mountain Division Culinary NCO and Chef of the Quarter, respectively.
Staff Sgt. Nickesha Hibbert and Spc. Markeeshia Neal, both with G Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st BCT, were members of the 15-Soldier Fort Drum Culinary Arts team that brought home 36 medals from the 37th Annual U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition at Fort Lee, Va.
"I'm so proud of everyone who competed," Mayfield said of her Soldiers. "They did an outstanding job."
Mayfield said the competing won't stop anytime soon.
"Our goal is to win every competition," she said. "I want 1st BCT to participate in everything, and I expect to win. I want us to dominate."