Sgt. Marcus Fichtl
8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — No military axiom may hold truer than “an Army fights on its stomach.” And no military job may keep truer to the concept of a Soldier being a master of his technical craft and war than an Army cook.
The cooks of the 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command field feeding team demonstrated their ability to back up every rifle with a hot meal when they won the U.S. Army-Pacific’s 2012 Philip A. Connelly Field Feeding Team category, here, July 31.
The 10-member team comprised of Soldiers from all three 8th TSC brigades and led by Sgt. 1st Class Lakeisha Parker, senior food operations sergeant, 8th MP Bde., and Staff Sgt. Ricardo Cabrera, shift leader, 130th Engineer Bde., served everything from southwest skillet potatoes to shrimp scampi with pasta, all with a side of body armor and an M4 carbine rifle.
While all the feeding teams combated austere conditions, what separated these cooks from the rest of the Pacific could be summed up in one word: cohesion.
“We’ve had the same team members since the beginning of April,” Cabrera said. “We’ve shared tears, sweat and blood out there, digging holes, putting up tents (and) camouflage nets, doing fuel runs and chow runs. It brought the whole team together.
“Cohesion is our secret weapon, the ‘Bam!’ touch,” Cabrera added.
While the Bam! touch brought an extra punch to the fighting positions, the primary enemies the team combated were weather and sanitation.
Parker said the team’s ability to operate with proficiency and expediency allowed them to stay ahead of the bugs and the weather.
These tough standards may deter the average Soldier, but the field kitchen is a place Cabrera and Parker, who have deployed four times together, prefer to be every time they serve troops.
“(The field kitchen environment) brings more cohesion and teamwork, and that brings everything else together,” Parker said. “When you deploy together, you are a family. You have no one but each other.”
“You have the extra time to be personal with each other (that) you don’t find in garrison,” Cabrera added.
The team will have plenty of time to get even more personal as they refine their menu and step up to the Department of the Army competition in November.
But rest assured, whatever the outcome, the Soldier, wherever he or she may be — foxhole, mountain or desert — will find a combat cook nearby.