Fort McCoy News May 24, 2013

WAREX gives cooks opportunity to serve Soldiers

STORY & PHOTO BY SGT. TANYA VAN BUSKIRK
304th Public Affairs Detachment

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — Cooking for the force is no small undertaking, but U.S. Army Pfc. Xavier Vasquez was up for the challenge and says it was an honor for him to serve his fellow Soldiers in the dining area at Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 2013 on Forward Operating Base (FOB) Liberty.

Photo for WAREX cooks
Pfc. Xavier Vasquez with the
263rd Quartermaster Company
monitors the temperature of rations.

The 263rd Quartermaster Company, 620th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 96th Sustainment Brigade, from El Paso, Texas, served nearly 500 Soldiers daily at the dining area on FOB Liberty. The 78th Training Division, an Army Reserve unit from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., hosted the exercise.

Vasquez is part of a team of five cooks led by food service manager Staff Sgt. Kevin Hinson of the 263rd.

Hinson says that Vasquez and the other cooks enjoyed their training at the WAREX.

"I have a good crew; happy with what I've got," Hinson said.

"These guys are from all over the country, and we worked well together right away," he added. "They are excited to be cooking at WAREX."

According to Hinson, having Soldiers like Vasquez, a college student training in culinary arts, allows for military training to benefit civilian careers and educations.

Vasquez says this was his first WAREX and he enjoyed using his skills in the kitchen.

"I love cooking. No matter what (happens), I am here for my battle buddies — whatever I can do. 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 helped cook means a lot to me," said Vasquez.

(Van Buskirk was assigned to the 78th Training Division Public Affairs Office to support Warrior Exercise 2013.)