MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
In a sweltering tent, with sweat pouring, one Marine rolls out dough, while another mixes stuffing and a third and fourth are standing over hot stoves cooking rice and beef respectively
Operating in a field environment, providing hot chow to Marines is the mission of the Food Service Section of 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
1/6 Food Service, with help with food service Marines from 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines represented Division in a II Marine Expeditionary Force-wide field mess competition, August 3, 2012 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
With only a week’s notice, the Marines setup of the field mess area, planned and cooked their meal for the competition.
“Everything was short fused,” said Staff Sgt. Jerry Maxie, the 1/6 food service chief and Allen, Texas native. After getting word on (July 27) that 1/6 would represent Division, “We started getting gear and setting up on Monday.”
Within that five-day work week, the Marines set up a small compound of tents, complete with overhead camouflage netting and razor wire. They also planned out the meal they would serve for the completion and began prepping their food.
“We were nominated by Division to represent in the competition,” said Maxie, “because of our work in Afghanistan. While in country we moved between four bases and Division knew were able to set up a mess in a field environment quickly.”
On the day of the competition, the Marines were ready and began cooking for 120 Marines at 8:30 a.m., by 10:30 they were ready to serve. Before the service line opened, each cook had to brief the judges on what they had cooked and how they prepared it.
The judges examined every minute detail of the field mess.
“We’re looking at everything from food storage and preparation to security and accounting,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Middlebrooks, the Installation/MCIEast food tech and a competition judge.
The Marines from 1/6 and 3/9 Food Service took their assigned challenge and put together a strong show for the judges.
“This is our first competition in the field, said Cpl. Chris Cosentino, a food service specialist with 1/6 and Lancaster, Penn., native. “All the Marines know what they’re doing and they’re not getting flustered with the judges looking over their shoulders and asking the questions.”
Maxie added, “I think we did a very good job.”
The Division’s competitor, 2nd Marine Logistics Group will be setting up their field mess the week of August 6-10. The winner will represent II MEF, in the Marine Corps wide competition for the W.P.T. Hill Award and recognition by the National Restaurant Association.