KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Cooks with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, have a very important mission at the Afghan National Civil Order Police Brigade Headquarters: feed soldiers.
“We provide nutritiously balanced meals to keep the warfighter in the fight,” said Sgt. James Rush, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the cooks with HHC, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment.
Rush and his fellow cooks try to provide fresh fruits and vegetables and an assortment of drinks. In addition to meals, ready to eat, the standard for lunch, the HHC cooks provide lunch meats and cheese so soldiers have the option of making a sandwich.
“Everyone is really happy with us because they get two hot meals,” said Spc. Araliz Lowery, the first cook with HHC. “We get a lot of guys saying they are used to eating only MREs.”
It hasn’t all been smooth as gravy though; they have had to work out a few lumps.
“When we first got here we really had to do a lot to get the equipment to standard,” said Rush.
The first few days were a blur of cleaning and trying to put out meals, Lowery said.
As time has gone on, said Rush, the cooks have really come together and it seems like things are a lot smoother.
“It’s getting better because we are getting used to the battle rhythm and we’re learning how Sgt. Rush wants thing,” said Lowery.
Pfc. Brittney Poole, a cook with HHC and first-time deployer was expecting the worst.
“I thought ANCOP was going to be a hole in the wall and really primitive,” said Poole. “But it’s really not that bad.”
“My favorite part is serving because you get to know all the Joes and it keeps you busy,” Poole said.
Although the ANCOP HQ is a relatively small camp, the three cooks stay very busy.
“We are up at 0430 to start breakfast and our day ends around 2030 with a short break during midday in order to exercise and laundry,” said Rush.
Though the cooks have long days with hectic schedules, they realize the importance of their jobs and what they do for the soldiers.
“Soldiers look forward to the meals and we do whatever we can to make them happy. The troops really depend on us,” Rush said.
This work, Talon cooks soaring to the task of feeding soldiers, by SSG Ruth Pagan, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.