Monday, March 05, 2007

Food service specialists keep Soldiers mission ready

By Staff Sgt. Angela McKinzie
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) Public Affairs

YUSUFIYAH, Iraq — On every forward operating base, the dining facility is the center of a Soldier’s life. No matter what operational specialty or job they perform, there’s only one place to sit down to a hot meal. Oftentimes overlooked by the troops as they pass through meals times are the people who put the food on the table – or on the serving line, at least.
Food service specialists from the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) work each day to prepare food for their fellow Soldiers at the base camp here, and while their job is not always glorious they enjoy what they are doing for their brothers and sisters in arms.
“Getting to cook for the Soldiers makes me feel like I am contributing,” said Pfc. Tiffany Batiste, a food service specialist with 4-31st and a native of New Orleans. “I think it is great that I get to feed the Soldiers who just come off of missions and who are getting ready to go on missions.”
Food service specialists like Batiste can spend up to 15 hours each day in the kitchen.
“While most Soldiers are asleep, we are busy cooking,” said Pfc. Chris Reeves, a food service specialist from New Smyrna Beach, Fla. “We are awake each morning before dawn preparing breakfast for everyone.”
These food service specialists do more than just cook. Their job is more complex since they do not have “kitchen police” to help them run the DFAC.
“We do it all – take out the trash, order the food, download food and clean all the dishes,” Batiste said as she prepared dinner for the Soldiers.
The food service specialists make sure there are three hot meals every day and send two hot meals to locations near Yusufiyah where there are no DFACs.
“The food service specialists are doing a great job – they are hard working people,” said 1st Lt. Joe Nussbaumer, a platoon leader and native of Dalton, Ga. “The food is delicious.”
Nussbaumer was one of many Soldiers who ate at the DFAC before going on an air assault mission.
After one day of cooking, cleaning and ordering food is over, the food service specialists wake up to do it again, but they know they are doing something good for their fellow Soldiers.
“It makes me feel good to know that I am helping them,” Reeves added.

No comments: