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Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Sammy Grimes serves a Marine hot chow during cold weather training at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Calif., Jan. 10, 2015. Hundreds of Marines participated in the cold weather training, enduring freezing temperatures during the two-week-long exercise in the Sierra Mountains. Grimes is a food service specialist at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jason Jimenez/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Jason Jimenez

Food in the Field: Living chow to chow

28 Jan 2016 | Cpl. Jason Jimenez 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Hundreds of Marines participating in cold weather training stood in line— shivering from the single-digit temperature and watching the fog of their breath dissolve into the frigid mountain air— to fill and warm up their stomachs at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center field mess tent, Jan. 10.

Food service specialists endured freezing temperatures and an all-day schedule to keep the Marines in training fully.

“Food is one of the most important things for a Marine to have,” said Cpl. Scott Meadows, the cook on watch for the field mess. “Eating Meals, Ready to Eat [MREs] all day can get old really fast, but having a hot meal is definitely a sight for sore eyes, or stomachs in this case.”

The field mess Marines brought food an hour up the mountain in Humvees to bring a little taste of home and lift the morale of the Marines enduring the cold, rigorous mountain training that consisted of daily hikes, survival skills learning, movement of equipment and constant shelter rebuilding and position improvement.

Once on the mountain, having a hot meal for dinner was one of the best things the Marines experienced all day, explained Meadows.

In support of the training, the food service specialists’ schedule is an all-day affair, working around the Marines’ never-ending struggle against the harsh climate.

“Breakfast shift runs from 2 - 9 a.m., and then they get some rest and are back in the kitchen from 2:30 - 8 p.m.,” said Staff Sgt. Jalisa Joseph, the mess chief for the exercise. “We literally live chow to chow.”

Feeding thousands of Marines takes a significant amount of planning, explained Joseph.

 “It is important for the field mess to be expeditious,” said Joseph. “The first few days we really did not sleep. We put our packs away, and got right to working on fueling everyone up to complete their missions.”

The mess hall Marines constantly ensure the food is within safety regulations, always hot and tasty to eat to support the rest of the Marine Corps to accomplish the mission.

“When the Marines go up on the mountain we know they are going to be hurting,” said Joseph. “When we arrive with some hot chow ready and hot coffee, we know it makes a difference and betters their day.”

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2nd Marine Aircraft Wing