FORT LEE, VA, UNITED STATES
Story by Amy Perry
FORT LEE, Va. — A lifelike bronze statue paying tribute to the 92-Golf culinary specialist profession was unveiled May 1 in the Subsistence Gallery of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum here.
The figure is the fifth and final installment of a QM military occupation tribute series that has been taking shape since concept planning in 2015. The museum also commissioned statues for the 92R parachute rigger, 92M mortuary affairs specialist, 92A automated logistics specialist and 92F petroleum supply specialist. Handpicked Soldiers representing each of those professions traveled to New York City in February 2016 to serve as models for the castings that were used to create the likenesses.
Brig. Gen. Rodney Fogg, Quartermaster General, and command representatives from the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence participated in the unveiling of the statue. The female figure (modeled after Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Owen who was not available for the ceremony) depicts a culinarian chopping vegetables at a food preparation counter. Other elements of the exhibit will be added in the coming weeks, according to Weldon Svoboda, QM Museum director. He said the staff will be replacing some of the outdated Vietnam-era artifacts with equipment that representatives the modern dining facility environment. The refit is projected for completion in the fall.
Prior to the statue unveiling, Lt. Col. Bryon T. Coleman, JCCoE director, recited a brief history of the culinary specialist and noted how it “exemplified the transformation” of the Army food service program and the change of image it has undergone.
“Today, we are continuing to adapt and modernize garrison and field feeding operations to enhance Soldiers’ cognitive and physical performance with quality and nutritional food choices in innovative and agile delivery options,” he observed.
Fogg also reflected on the significance of the display and expressed excitement about “showing off” the new statue and a respected profession of his QM Corps. He further offered thanks to the Soldier who posed for the casting. Owens is the first sergeant of a forward support company based at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Additionally, Fogg recognized Technician 5th Grade T. Eric Gibson, a culinarian who served during World War II and trained at Fort Lee. His actions during combat earned him a posthumous Medal of Honor, one of 33 that quartermasters have received over the years.
“He was a cook in charge of a squad who had all trained here,” Fogg said. “He was a part of our legacy and a hero.”
Fogg urged the audience to think about the first sergeant who posed for the statue, as well as Gibson, a hero the likeness equally represents. It is the type of reflection the exhibit is meant to invoke, he noted while giving accolades to the museum for its steadfast training and heritage support of the Quartermaster Corps.