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Support Soldiers Bring Hot Chow To Outpost

Sgt. James Williams, of Natchitoches, La., checks on some green beans just before the dinner meal inside the "containerized kitchen" at Forward Operating Base Hope in Baghdad, March 14. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim.
by Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim
Hope, Iraq (AFNS) Mar 21, 2007
As the Mustang Battalion's Legionnaires found their way out of Forward Operating Base Rustamiyah and moved up to Forward Operating Base Hope near Sadr City, they knew that relocating meant no more hot meals.

"Believe me, it makes a big difference," said Sgt. Ryan Green, Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "It's a big morale booster to get some hot chow.

"It's just good to have some of those creature comforts sometimes," continued the native of Conroe, Texas.

After their move, the soldiers lived on Meals Ready to Eat, for almost every meal. So, their support company, Company F, Forward Support Company, 1-8 acted quickly to make sure their guys wouldn't go without many more hot meals.

According to Sgt. 1st Class Angel Ortiz, the support company's senior food service sergeant, from Toabaja, Puerto Rico, they brought out the big guns - a "containerized kitchen." This recreational vehicle trailer-type setup helps cooks feed all the soldiers at Hope during the breakfast and dinner meals.

Although Company B soldiers moved into their Combat Outpost at Forward Operating Base Hope weeks ago, four food service specialists moved in with their containerized kitchen March 12, and they said they couldn't be happier. "It feels really good to be out here," said Sgt. James Williams, a food service sergeant, of Natchitoches, La. "I love my job because I love to cook."

Currently, Williams and three other soldiers are the only cooks from the support company to be assigned on this unique mission of feeding the Legion troops.

"They deserve it; they have a tougher job than we do," he said. "We just sit around and cook back here. I don't mind putting in my part to make theirs easier."

Pfc. Robert Mullenix, one of the food service specialists who lives and works on FOB Hope, said although the mornings are early and the nights can be late, he is "loving it."

"Everyone out here appreciates us," he said. "This is the most appreciation I've gotten since I've been in Iraq."

According to Mullinex, working in the containerized kitchen is a lot better than its predecessor: the Mobile Kitchen Trailer. "It's pretty basic," he said about the design. "The MKT was tough, but this makes (cooking) easy."

Williams couldn't agree more about the design which allows them to have better burners; two, full-sized refrigerators rather than just an iced cooler; two food warmers; a sink with running water; a deep fryer; bigger ovens than before; and a generator that has an easy-access fuel port.

"I love this mug ... it's amazing," he proclaimed. "With this, I'm a lot happier. They gave us the ability to do things quicker." Green said he is happy that the cooks are happy doing their job.

"It's always good when you can get a cook who likes his job because that means the food's going to be better."

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