View Full Version : Marines stir up quality training

08-06-04, 05:46 AM
Marines stir up quality training
Submitted by: MCAS Iwakuni
Story Identification #: 200472520194
Story by Lance Cpl. Lydia Davey

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan (July 13, 2004) -- Feeding hundreds of Marines a day can be difficult, but remove running water, convection ovens and steam coppers, and the challenge grows.

Nearly 30 food service specialists from Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 conducted a field mess training exercise here, July 13-14.

"We conduct this type of training once a quarter," said Staff Sgt. Sonia Hernadez, MWSS-171 food service specialist. "We want the Marines to get as much field training as possible, because the way we cook in the field is different than preparing food in garrison."

During the exercise, the Marines prepared approximately 450 portions of food once a day, said Sgt. Adam Bulluck, MWSS-171 food service specialist.

The unique challenges associated with cooking in the field are many, he added.

"Out in the field we have to deal with a limited amount of space, less equipment and a smaller selection of utensils," said Bulluck.

But such obstacles must be overcome in order for the Marines to meet their main goal: providing two appetizing meals a day in the fastest, safest way possible.

Menus are planned and supplies are ordered prior to a field exercise, said Hernandez.

"We bring a lot of canned and dehydrated foods to the field," Hernandez said. "But we also ensure that fresh produce is available. Vendors provide us with fruits and vegetables."

Sanitation is also an important issue, said Sgt. Gregory Ashton-Kenny, MWSS-171 food service specialist.

"We do have sinks, but not running water," said Ashton-Kenny. "We fill and empty the sinks by hand, and heat the water with burners. And throughout the day, we have Marines taking our gear to the pot-shack tent to be cleaned."

In addition to taste, the Marines focus on appearance, said Hernandez.

"We eat with our eyes - if the food looks good, we'll eat it," she said. "Presentation is just as important as taste. It's also a part of taking pride in your product."

Although working in a somewhat primitive environment can be difficult, senior Marines relish deployments as an opportunity to interact more with junior Marines.

"My favorite part of being in the field is getting to work with Marines more," said Hernandez.

"In garrison, more than 50 percent of the cooks are civilian," noted Bulluck. "Deployments are a great chance to make sure all of the Marines are prepared."


Lance Cpl. Randy Almanza, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 food service specialist, prepares green beans with the assistance of Sgt. Gregory Ashton-Kenny, MWSS-171 food service specialist, during a recent training exercise. The Marines prepared 450 portions of food daily. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Lydia Davey