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Joint Forces Command – United Assistance Service Member of the week: Cooking up Morale in Liberia
Posted By Clarksville Online News Staff On Sunday, December 7, 2014 @ 6:30 pm In News | No Comments
Written by Sgt. Matthew Britton
27th Public Affairs Detachment
Monrovia, Liberia – Meals Ready to Eat are convenient and essential for service members who are deployed to austere locations where hot chow isn’t yet available. In this situation, although necessary, eating MREs for long periods of time can become the catalyst for morale declining.
A hot bite to eat could be the difference between troops becoming complacent with risks that might be fatal, and staying alert – staying alive.
Specialist Shanice Wright, cook, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 36th Engineer Brigade, Task Force Rugged, Fort Hood, Texas, has been recognized as the second Service Member of the Week, December 5th, supporting Joint Forces Command – United Assistance and the U.S. Agency for International Disease – led mission, Operation United Assistance.
This weekly program has been put in place to show troops that their hard work here hasn’t gone unnoticed. It starts every Friday after the morning briefing at the Barclay Training Center here.
Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, commanding general, JFC-UA, congratulates the service member, hands out a coin and takes them on a helicopter flight throughout the JFC-UA area of operations to see the work that’s been accomplished.
Wright has been lifting the mood and morale of service members with food she prepared since her first day in Liberia.
“Not a lot of people like eating MREs,” said Wright. “People are always happy when they get hot food. I enjoy my job, and I enjoy being able to help with that aspect. It’s a definite morale boost.”
Receiving supplies and equipment in Africa has been slow due to the theater just recently being opened. Despite these issues, Wright’s first line supervisor spoke highly of her Soldier’s ability to adapt and overcome.
“Our [noncommissioned officers] wanted to boost morale by serving better food,” said Sgt. Britni Washington, cook team leader, HHC, 36th Eng. Bde. “We had supply issues and were short of some equipment, but specialist Wright has been resilient and always found a way to get it done. She just overcomes every obstacle that comes her way and hit the ground running when we got here.”
During Thanksgiving, Wright helped prepare and facilitate the holiday Dinner at the National Police Training Academy here. Hungry service members had six different types of meat to choose from, along with other traditional side dishes.
“She and another specialist served over 4,000 servings of meat to more than 800 people on Thanksgiving.” said Washington. “She served fast and kept the line down for these Soldiers.”
Wright said she originally feared coming to Liberia because of what the media reported, but quickly shed her doubt once on ground.
“I was pretty scared at first, but it was a lot different than what I expected and what the news said,” said Wright. “I’m proud of my job and this mission. I’m here for them, here for the Soldiers.”
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