SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- No military saying may hold truer than an "Army fights on its stomach." And no military job may keep truer to the concept of a Soldier being a master of his technical craft and war than an Army cook.

As the cooks of the 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command field feeding team demonstrated their ability to back up every rifle with a hot meal when they won the United States Army Pacific's 2012 Phillip A. Connelly Field Feeding Team category, here, July 31.

The ten member team comprised of Soldiers from all three 8th TSC brigades and lead by Sgt. 1st Class Lakeisha Parker, senior food operations sergeant from the 8th MP Bde. and Staff Sgt. Ricardo Cabrera, shift leader from the 130the Eng. Bde. served everything from southwest skillet potatoes to shrimp scampi with pasta, all with a side of body armor and M4.

While all the feeding teams combated austere conditions, what separated these cooks from the rest of the Pacific could be summed up in one word. Cohesion.

"We've had the same team members since the beginning of April, we've shared tears sweat and blood out there, digging holes , putting up tents, camouflage nets, doing fuel runs, and chow runs," said Cabrera. "It brought the whole team together, cohesion is our secret weapon."

"The bam touch," continued Cabrera.

While the bam touch brought an extra punch to the fighting positions, gun trucks and kitchen that dotted the field camp. The primary enemies the team combated were weather and sanitation.

Parker said following Army and the team's ability to operate with proficiency and expediency allowed them to stay ahead of the bugs and the weather.

The field kitchen reached a level of cleanliness and efficiency not found in the civilian world.
Tough standards that may deter the average Soldier, but a place Cabrera and Parker who've deployed four times together would rather be every time they serve troops.

"[The field kitchen] brings more cohesion and team work together and that brings everything else together. When you deploy together, you are a family, said Parker. "You have no one but each other."

"You have the extra time to be personal with each other you don't find in garrison," added Cabrera.

And the team will have plenty of time to get even more personal as they will be refining their menu and stepping up to the Department of the Army competition in November.

But rest assured whatever the outcome, the Soldier where ever he may be found, foxhole, mountain or desert will also find next to him a combat cook.