FORT MCCOY, Wis.— Around 4,000 service members from the armed forces are currently participating in the Combat Support Training Exercise of the U.S. Army Reserve Command and led by the 86th Training Division.
The CSTX is a joint training event executed in a live, virtual, and constructive integrated training environment where service members test their tactical and technical skills.
While each military occupational specialty begins its collective tasks, the Army Reserve food service personnel from the 767th, 768th, and 769th Quartermaster Companies are conducting the first major field feeding operation here Aug 16.
“The field feeding detachments are offering a unique experience for unit command teams; to provide 100 percent focusing on their training while we provide the field feeding and make sure their soldiers are fully sustainable,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Taj Keeler, commander. “This is the first time field feeding detachments participate on a CSTX scale of over 4,000 service members.”
Since 2020, the field feeding detachments fall under the 166th Regional Support Group of the 1st Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Two years after its establishment, the Army Reserve units have acquired more than 85% of its assigned personnel to fulfill field feeding team and company operations.
As a unique set of enabling formations, the 1st MSC could provide this field-feeding capability for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations when civil authorities request.
“This ambitious initiative will pay major dividends as the critical data emerging from the exercise will enable U.S. Army Reserve planners to refine the concept of field feeding support to major exercises,” said Maj. Heath Dickinson, 1st MSC mobilization officer. “This will not only lead to accelerated cost savings but will assist the two USAR sustainment commands in planning for the activations and utilization of the 74 additional teams projected to activate over the next two years.”
According to Sgt. First Class Regina Vargas, detachment’s first sergeant, the food service personnel have the expertise to prepare standard and dietetic menus and operate field feeding systems such as the Mobile Kitchen Trailer, Containerized Kitchen, and Field Sanitation Centers.
These systems sustain tactical feeding and support personnel under adverse conditions.
“We can provide field feeding services in remote locations,” said Sgt. First Class Vargas. “We are not only supporting the Army, but we are also providing services to the Marines, Air Force, and Navy service members.”
Although the commander and first sergeant are responsible for the field feeding operation, the food service officer, the food advisor, culinary management non-commissioned officer, food service specialists, and even the kitchen police (K.P.s) have a significant role in mission success.
“I am very proud to be a 92G because we make a change in the battlefield or any other field; we change the morale of the soldiers,” said Spc. Christian Rivera. “Happy stomach, happy soldiers!”
The Army Reserve develops highly trained teams with the skills and equipment to meet current operational requirements.