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Face of Defense: Army Cook Feeds Troops at Exercise

By Army Sgt. Tanya Van Buskirk
78th Training Division

FORT MCCOY, Wis., May 7, 2013 – Cooking for the force is no small undertaking, but Army Pfc. Xavier Vasquez is up to the challenge and says it is an honor for him to serve his fellow soldiers in the dining facility during Warrior Exercise 2013 on Forward Operating Base Liberty here.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Reserve Pfc. Xavier Vasquez of the 263rd Quartermaster Company, 620th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 96th Sustainment Brigade, monitors the temperature of rations in the dining facility on Fort McCoy, Wis., May 5, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tanya Van Buskirk

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Cooks with the 263rd Quartermaster Company, 620th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 96th Sustainment Brigade, from El Paso, Texas, are feeding nearly 500 soldiers during the exercise. Vasquez is part of a team of five cooks led by food service manager Staff Sgt. Kevin Hinson.

Hinson said his cooks are enjoying their training.

“I have a good crew,” Hinson said. “These guys are from all over the country, and we worked well together right away. They are excited to be cooking at WAREX.”

WAREX 2013 is being conducted this month at Fort McCoy, Wis. The 78th Training Division, an Army Reserve unit from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., is hosting the exercise.

The exercise provides Army Reserve troops with dynamic combat environment simulations and teaches the latest tactics to be used to ensure mission success anywhere in the world.

Vasquez, who’s enrolled in college learning the culinary arts, said he is enjoying using his skills to cook for his fellow soldiers.

“I love cooking. No matter what [happens], I am here for my battle buddies -- whatever I can do,” Vasquez said. “I like working with people, and being able to talk to [other soldiers] coming back from a hard day and enjoying a warm meal I help cook means a lot to me.”


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