News: Task Force Spearhead cooks excel, provide good food in austere conditions
Story by Sgt. Richard Wrigley
FORWARD OPERATING BASE TODD, Afghanistan - When three soldiers, all food operations specialists from Task Force Spearhead, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, were placed at a remote forward operating base in western Afghanistan, they were asked to simply perform to standard.
They have done more than that though. They have excelled.
“Most cooks come out here and supervise contractors who do the cooking, but these soldiers are actually getting to cook the food themselves; and the pride and care they take in doing that is shown by how much the troops out there love them,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Pitkus, a native of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., command sergeant major for TF Spearhead, 1st ACB.
When the cooks arrived at Forward Operating Base Todd, the cooking conditions were less than desirable, said Staff Sgt. Rhonda Rivers, a native of Shreveport, La., and the non-commissioned officer in charge of the food operations at FOB Todd for TF Spearhead, 1st ACB.
Not only did they face the challenge of cooking the food that gets air-dropped in to them, they had to build some of their own facilities, renovating the dining and dry food storage areas, as well as acquiring a new cold-storage area, something they did not have when they got there, said Rivers.
Working 12 plus-hour days and feeding approximately 120 people a day with a cooking staff of three, the cooks at FOB Todd do indeed take pride in their job.
“We actually cook meals [out here],” said Rivers.
“Nowadays, when a [cook] goes out to a field environment like this, you’ll see them cooking [Unitized Group Ration - A Options], which is basically boiling a bag. We don’t do that. We are actually cooking the food from scratch,” said Rivers.
“The troops love it,” Rivers added with a smile.
Speaking under anonymity due to the secretive nature of his job, one trooper said he spoke for many when he exclaimed how happy they were with the cook’s service.
“They do so much with so little, and take care of us so well, they really do a great job for all of us and we really appreciate it,” he said.