News: Cooking up smiles
Story by Staff Sgt. Ian Shay
SONSONATE, El Salvador – Before coming to Beyond the Horizon-El Salvador 2013, soldiers might expect to eat only a steady diet of meals ready to eat for the two-week duration, but fortunately for them, Joint Task Force Jaguar is equipped with Army-trained cooks and a mobile kitchen trailer.
Sgt. 1st Class Edward George Haggett Jr., noncommissioned officer-in-charge, New Hampshire National Guard, explained his favorite part of the job.
“I like when the soldiers go through the line and have a smile on their face because they know they’re going to get a good meal,” said Haggett.
The Army mobile kitchen trailer can serve up to 300 people in an hour and can be set-up in 30 minutes, but requires of lot effort to set-up that quickly.
“It’s a lot of hard work. People don’t always understand the work that goes behind the scenes. They just see what is on the line,” said Haggett.
Like Haggett, Sgt. Tabitha Roethel, cook, 107th Maintenance Company, Sparta, Wis., enjoys making soldiers happy.
“I like making people smile. Food service is like customer service. We are the first faces you see in the morning and the last faces you see at night,” said Roethel.
Roethel knows that Soldiers may not always like the menu being served, but she does her best to motivate soldiers by asking questions as she hands-out her portions of the meals. Whether it is asking each soldier to sing their favorite song lyric or by quoting their favorite movie line, Tabitha finds a way to bring out the smiles.
“I ask questions to cheer soldiers up, because I know they’ve had a long, hot, hard day, and I know sometimes the food isn’t the best. So if I can get a little smile out of them, maybe they will have a better evening and wake-up tomorrow in a better mood,” said Roethel.