News: Army cooks keep Soldiers fed
Story by Spc. Luisito Brooks
BAGHDAD, Iraq— While most military dining facilities are run by contracted employees, at a few remote locations, it's the U.S. Soldiers that still provide the meals.
At Joint Security Station Justice, on Baghdad's west side, Soldiers from the 702nd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division are in charge of the running the DFAC that serves approximately 2,000 meals every day.
"In Iraq, we don't often get a chance to cook for our Soldiers because most DFACs are much larger and so contractors are hired to run those facilities," said Staff Sgt. Herbert Perry, the JSS Justice DFAC's non-commissioned officer-in-charge.
Smaller bases don't have the luxury of being able to contract out food services, so Army cooks step in to do the job they were trained to do.
Because they are serving their own, the Soldiers that manage the JSS Justice dining facility said they take pride in the opportunity to cook for Soldiers.
"It is our responsibility to care for the health and well-being of every person that eats here," said Spc. Jeremy Bollinger, one of the cooks; adding that it's not just U.S. Soldiers but also contractors, translators, local and international visitors who eat at their DFAC.
With such a variety of guests eating the DFAC, it's important to take into considerations that many come from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
"We prepare each day for the different diets and appetites that come through here, said Perry, a native of Alexandria, La. "We try to accommodate every type of diet by adding a vegetarian area, no pork items and things like that."
Soldiers that have eaten there say it is a good thing to see that Soldiers are still providing the food.
"The DFAC has gotten a lot better than it used to be because now there are more choices," said Spc. Joshua Wilson, a Raleigh, N.C. native.
For the cooks, each meal represents a chance to hone their skills and fill hungry stomachs.
"We prepare hours and hours every day to ensure that every Soldier gets to eat," said Perry, "Our motto is that we will never leave a Soldier hungry."