Face of Defense: Soldier Focuses on Comrades’ Nutrition
By Army Pfc. Michael Schuch
Special to American Forces Press Service
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq, Jul. 16, 2008 Army Staff Sgt. Colin Goldson gladly takes on the difficult, tiring and endless task of feeding the soldiers and civilians of the 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
Army Staff Sgt. Colin Goldson of Landover, Md., checks the temperature of water used to wash the lunch dishes in the dining facility on Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq, July 12, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Michael Schuch, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
A contracting officer/technical representative and food service specialist, Goldson began his culinary career nearly 25 years ago, and he has been preparing, supervising and serving meals for soldiers for the past 10 years.
Goldson joined the All-Army Culinary Arts Team shortly after beginning his military career. He specialized in hors d’oeuvres and entrees in primarily French cuisine and participated in seven competitions. His skill earned him a silver medal and two bronze medals while serving on the team from 1999 to 2005.
“I live the life of food service because of what it does for our soldiers,” said Goldson, a native of Landover, Md. “The food presented to the soldiers can do just as much for morale as receiving mail from family.”
Goldson said the health and readiness of each soldier who comes through the dining facility is his responsibility.
“I am a subject-matter expert, not just with the food itself, but keeping track of calories and helping each soldier maintain the proper balance and diet,” Goldson said. “Ensuring that the soldiers eat healthy enhances their morale and fitness, sustaining their readiness and ability to fight. The responsibility of keeping our soldiers fit and ready to fight falls directly on the food service specialists like myself.”
Goldson ensures Army values and standards are met and that the food is properly prepared, stored and maintained; contractors actually prepare the food. He also works to make each item on the menu visually attractive. When it comes to preparing food for the soldiers, he said, it is about more than just taste and nutrition.
“When most people choose the food they are going to eat, they choose based on what looks most appealing to them rather than the nutritional value,” he explained. “By using creativity when preparing the foods, we are able to ensure that each item on the menu appears tasty and attractive to the soldiers.”
On an average day, Goldson assists in the preparation of more than 8,000 meals for Forward Operating Base Hammer’s residents. Preparing the food, however, is not the most important part to Goldson.
“The most important thing about this job is striving to make everyone happy and continuously improving the quality of the meals we feed our soldiers,” he said. “We try to improve not only the quality, but the effect it has on the soldiers by offering a wide variety.”
Goldson is highly skilled and talented in the area of culinary arts, and he recently earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology.
For now, he continues supervising the kitchen staff, ensuring proper sanitary practices are being kept, and ensuring the food cooked in the kitchens is cooked to nutritional standards.
However, Goldson also has plans after retiring from his military career. He hopes to be either a culinary arts and food services teacher or a psychology teacher.
“I have always wanted to take the role to enhance the capabilities of others,” he said. “I believe that you can always use the knowledge you have to advance the skills of others.”
(Army Pfc. Michael Schuch serves in the 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)