View Full Version : Field chow motivates troops

04-25-04, 11:19 AM
Field chow motivates troops
Submitted by: MCAS Iwakuni
Story Identification Number: 200442322713
Story by Lance Cpl. David Revere

YECHON AIR FORCE BASE, Republic of Korea(April 23, 2004) -- Meals Ready to Eat may be nutritious, but there's nothing like hot chow to boost a hard-working warrior's spirit. The cooks and mess men of Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 devote every day to that mission as part of exercise Foal Eagle's forward operating base.

During the March deployment, their task was to provide a fully functional chow hall serving two hot meals a day to more than 600 service members.

"There's the logistics of where to set up, how many people we have to feed, how to coordinate with ongoing operations, and what kind of food to prepare," said Cpl. Damerice Jason Pierre, the exercise's chief mess man.

Overseeing the daily operation of the mess hall, Pierre had to constantly adapt to the unpredictable field environment.

"Being outside is one of the biggest challenges we face," said Pierre. "We're out in the open and dust is flying all around. Every night we have to stay an extra hour just cleaning."

The hours may have been long and the work less-than-glamorous, but there was something special about these mess men who made it all happen.

"They're different from the regular cooks," said Pierre. "They come from all different work sections. We've got everything from a calibrator here to a cable installer. They're here to handle everything from cleaning the decks, to wiping off tables, to serving the chow we prepare, to dumping the trash."

"It's a lot more work involved than I expected," said Lance Cpl. Ebony C. Davis, a basic electrician from Marine Air Control Squadron 4. "But the Marines have been very appreciative. When they come in and say we've done a good job, I feel like I'm helping to boost their morale."

According to Pierre, Davis' positive attitude was shared by the entire group.

"All the Marines have great attitudes and that's the greatest thing about it," said Pierre. "That's what makes this whole thing work."

The field mess has worked scrumptiously, as evidenced by the continuous flow of comments from appreciative troops.

"We've received good comments every day," said Pierre. "Sergeants major and colonels come in and talk with us. They all have nothing but good things to say. With a consistency of that many people, you know you must be doing something good."

Though recipe cards are still followed, the cooks have also had to learn to adapt to using a minimal amount of cooking instruments.

"Out here, you don't have a lot of the things that you have in the galley," said Pvt. Clarissa Autumn Rowley, food service specialist. "I enjoyed being able to start a product and then go by my taste buds."

Rowley said the experience has taught her many things, in addition to giving her more appreciation for her job.

"Being out here with all the cooks and working in such a small space - it brought me a lot closer with every one of them," said Rowley.

The mess men also found a new appreciation for the role of food service Marines.

"I can tell you this: because of the work we've done here, I have a much better appreciation of the people who work back at the regular chow hall," said Davis.

"For me, this is what the Corps is all about," said Pierre. "Getting out there, getting dirty - it's motivation, and I see it in my Marines' faces."


Sgt. Gregory A. Ashton-Kenny, MWSS-171, galley captain, serves up chicken for evening chow during Exercise Foal Eagle 2004. Photo by: Lance Cpl. David Revere



04-25-04, 11:20 AM
Cook Chill provides unique service:
Corps only mass food production feeds Okinawa-based Marines and Sailors

Submitted by: MCB Camp Butler
Story Identification Number: 200442101614
Story by Lance Cpl. Jonathan K. Teslevich

CAMP KINSER, Okinawa, Japan (April 16, 2004) -- Marines eating meals from an Okinawa camp messhall has definitely just ingested a unique type of food. This nourishment is unique because it was prepared in a one-of-a-kind building dedicated to supplying service members island-wide with quality breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

The Cook Chill Facility has no equal in the entire Department of Defense and is a centralized food production and distribution location for the Okinawa mess halls and clubs. There is no such facility anywhere else in the Department of Defense

“The Cook Chill helps each commander keep their Marines well fed by consolidating food production, which in turn helps address the problem of staffing the chow halls,” said Staff Sgt. Jason W. Karger, Okinawa Cook Chill Facility food production chief. “The chow halls use a master menu and this facility supplies about 60-percent of that food as well as supplying the base clubs some of their soups, chilies, etc.”

Food is prepared, cooked, packaged, stored with a shelf life of 25 days, depending on the type of food; and then it is delivered to the customers four times a week according to the food production chief.

“The facility uses reduced (oxygen) packaging in which the product is placed in Cryovac bags and the air is removed,” said the Duluth, Minn. native. “This ensures freshness and storage time.”

During the cooking process, food is heated to 185 degrees Fahrenheit, where pasteurization takes place, then is chilled to 32 degrees Fahrenheit for storage, described Karger.

“The products are delivered by our two refrigerated vehicles,” Karger said. “Upon receiving the product, the chow halls just need to reheat it and the food is ready to be served.”

The Cook Chill uses The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point process to make sure the quality of the food produced at the facility meets the necessary standards, Karger said.

The HACCP process ensures food is inspected for suitability and is stored at proper temperatures to maximize shelf life. The process also guarantees the temperature of food is monitored automatically during cooking, while stored awaiting delivery, and when delivered.

“Because this state-of-the-art facility supplies food to mess halls and clubs across the island and is able to save manpower and waste, we can keep costs down while consistently producing quality products,” Karger said.



09-20-09, 09:34 AM
Broken time but spent a total of 9 months in Yechon between '83 and '85. In that time I ate in three different mess tents. As I combat Engineer from MWSG-17, Det-C Construction, I had a hand in building all of them. I wonder about the difference that 25yrs makes.

09-26-09, 07:01 PM
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM Chow! If any of you Marines knew me then as they know me now yoou know I can put it away. Never had MREs but I did love the C-Rations. All except those darn lima beans. Those cooks can really put it out for us. Thanks Marines.

09-26-09, 07:51 PM
Did they lay off any of the cooks at the chow halls?

Way back in the dark ages most of the cooking work was done by Okinawans. The Maine cooks just checked in and out food and bossed the mess duties around. Us guys on mess did all the cleaning and serving.