TOOELE ARMY DEPOT, Utah (July 21, 2012) -- In a large tan tent with stoves and ovens, a pot of mixed vegetables sits boiling and a pot of gravy simmers as Spc. Joshua A. Miller and Pfc. Shawn K. Warren, food service specialists with 423rd Transportation Company, tend to the dishes.

In order to serve 220 Soldiers per meal at Tooele Army Depot, Utah during Operation Golden Cargo 2012, cooks with the 423rd Transportation Company from Colorado Springs, Colo., start their shifts about six hours prior to prepare, set up and cook, Warren explained.

The cooks are willing to put in the long hours to ensure the Soldiers have the right amount of nutrients during strenuous training.

"We feed them two meals a day, breakfast and dinner," said Miller. "I think the food servers out here work the hardest in getting the food prepped and served."

Food service specialists don't take many breaks while cooking, serving, cleaning and taking turns at kitchen patrol duty, and use rotating shifts to ensure all meals are well-staffed.

"We work long hours and we still have to do our own physical training and everything else--it gets stressful," said Warren.

The cooks have to comply with Army stipulations regarding nutrition, food preparation and ingredients.

"By nutrition standards set by the Army, we try to give it the best seasoning possible while still following the Army standards," explained Miller.

The food service specialists try to make the meals as pleasing as possible for their fellow Soldiers.
"Sometimes the recipes are outdated we add different ingredients to make the meal taste better," Warren said.

The cooks follow their standards and are supplied with multiple avenues of help to make their work processes easier.

"There are a lot of people helping us out, not just cooks," noted Miller. "Sometimes military companies deliver Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MRE's) and Tray Rations (TRATs). We just call them and order the meals a day in advance and civilian contractors stack them up in one of the semi-trucks they have and bring them out."

Food service specialists play a key role in every mission whether it's training or on deployment--Army cooks help lead the fight through Soldier's stomachs.