Serving up morale one meal at a time
POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 8:17pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 8:58pm
Fort Bliss, TX (KTSM) — It’s almost 2 a.m.; while many other Soldiers are deep in the middle of sleep, Pvt. Shane England, a culinary specialist assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, is already starting his day.
England is a cook who takes great pride in his job of providing sustenance for Soldiers of his brigade supporting Network Integration Evaluation.
England says cooking in a field environment is very different than cooking at a dining facility because at the DFAC Soldiers work in a team of people with assigned roles.
“Here you have to be able to multi-task and do the job of many Soldiers,” said England. “You have to be able to just make things happen.”
England’s three-person team is responsible for providing two hot meals for more than 270 Soldiers at many different locations. This leaves very little time for sleep as their work day often exceeds 16 hours.
It takes the team an average of two hours to prepare the meals and another two hours to package the food for the Soldiers. This means for a meal to be ready for breakfast they are busy cooking by 2 a.m. Their only time for a solid amount of sleep occurs during the afternoon when Soldiers are given a Meal Ready to Eat.
Pvt. Anthony Leon, a Soldier assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Bn., 77th Armor Regt., said these meals are greatly appreciated by the Soldiers.
“It helps out because eating MREs three times a day would get old,” said Leon. “I like having hot breakfast and dinner.”
Feeding Soldiers is why Pvt. Anthony Burnett, a Soldier assigned to 4th BCT, joined the Army.
“I enlisted while still a senior in high school after taking a culinary arts class offered at my school,” said Burnett. “I realized that I enjoyed cooking, and my family has a long military history.
“By being a cook in the Army, I’ve been able to combine my love of cooking and love of country.”