COMBAT OUTPOST CASTLE, Afghanistan –Whether preparing the ingredients to be used for a meal, preheating ovens or making sure the food doesn’t over cook, feeding 300 people can be a difficult task. It can be even harder in a foreign environment and a single Marine is tasked with the workload.
Corporal Nicholas Fredrick, food service specialist, Charlie Company, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 6, usually starts his day around 4 a.m. to begin cooking breakfast. He begins to serve food from the mess tent aboard Combat Outpost Castle, Khan Neshin, Afghanistan at 7 a.m.
Fredrick, of New Castle, Del., says that being the only cook at his combat outpost can be difficult.
“The hardest part is just putting all the food out there and keeping up with all the Marines.” he said.
Fredrick, 26, says his favorite meal to cook for the Marines is steak and lobster, which he tries to make every Saturday. Instead of just cooking the steaks, he likes to add seasonings to them beforehand.
“We have a grill in the back, and I’ll just get out there and start grilling for the guys,” he said.
He is also licensed to operate 7-ton trucks, the vehicles Marines use to move supplies throughout Helmand province. Once a week, he will drive a 7-ton as part of a resupply convoy to pick up the supplies he needs to continue to feed his Marines.
Since Fredrick is the only cook in his company, he gets to decide what is on the menu every day.
Fredrick says he likes to add something extra to the meals he cooks instead of just cooking them right out of the packages they come in.
“The guys always tell me they like the meatloaf,” he said. “I like to add a little extra cheese to the top of it and bake it in the oven. They always love the steaks too. I season those myself. I try to make things a little better for everyone out here.”
Even though cooking for so many Marines can be a demanding task, he says seeing happy Marines makes it worth it.
“I like boosting everyone’s morale,” he said. “That’s main purpose out here, keeping the Marines nice and full and happy. If they’re happy, then I’m happy too.”
Fredrick said he takes pride knowing that he is never late to open the doors to his tent when it is time to eat a meal. He says he always tries to open up 15-20 minutes early and will sometimes close a little later to ensure everyone is fed.