The Army’s first field feeding company activated during a ceremony on Fort Bragg Wednesday — signifying the push of moving culinary specialists from dining facilities to the battlefield.
About 140 soldiers are part of the inaugural 25th Quartermaster Company, 264th Combat Service and Support Battalion under the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command. The soldiers will deploy tasked with providing hot, nutritious meals as an alternative to Meal, Ready-to-Eat packages to soldiers in combat zones and austere environments.
“You have the unique privilege of being the Army’s first field feeding company and leaving behind a lasting legacy,” said Capt. Stephen Benz, commander of the company. “Let’s get to work.”
The soldiers selected for the company were pulled from other units under the 18th Airborne Corps, including the 20th Engineer Brigade, the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade and the 18th Field Artillery Brigade.
In April, a second field feeding company will be activated under the 82nd Airborne Division.
The field feeding company will be self-sustaining, as it has its own mechanics and supply specialists. It will deploy in teams of 15 soldiers that can support as many as 2,800 soldiers.
The teams can be requested by any unit under the 18th Airborne Corps and support missions anywhere around the globe.
When not deployed, the soldiers will work in a dining facility on Fort Bragg.
Lt. Col. Sean Smith, commander of 264th Combat Service and Support Battalion that oversees the battalion, lauded the troops.
“We’re getting back culinary experts and expertise and action and drive that have been missing in the last 10 to 15 years,” he said.
Field feeding companies had been part of past Army service, but they have not been part of the Army in recent years. Officials said this is the first field feeding company of this generation.
“While our culinary specialists went off and did a multitude of different things throughout the contingency operations over the last decade and a half, the core competency still needed to reside in the Army. As we pivot getting back to austere environments and back to expeditionary operations, I can think of no better formation to blaze that trail than these soldiers,” Smith said.
Staff writer Amanda Dolasinski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3528. ___
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