CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan -- Marines and sailors with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, work a lot of hard hours while deployed to Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Afghanistan. However, there are some Marines who have taken on a task so large and demanding, some may think they have bitten off more than they can chew.
Corporal Randy Sanabriadiaz has an important role when it comes to feeding service members aboard the base.
“It is my job to supervise and make sure the food is not only being prepared on time, but to make sure that it is of good quality and not spoiled,” said Sanabriadiaz, a Tampa, Florida native.
Food service Marines work countless hours to ensure service members get fed, working sun-up to sun-down to ensure the suitable nutrition is being provided in order for proper sustainment during the extreme temperatures and demanding labor they endure on a daily basis.
“My Marines and I work on a 24-hour, seven-days a week schedule,” said Staff Sgt. Rudolph Montgomery, the mess hall chief with the unit, and Baltimore native. “There is always someone here making sure we meet deadlines and to make sure the civilian contractors are keeping to the menus.”
The chow hall prepares thousands of pounds of food a day in order to serve the 5,000 to 7,000 patrons that enter the facility.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to keep operations running smoothly,” said Sanabriadiaz. “When the base runs drills and we have to stop what we are doing it really sets us back; however, the hard work the Marines and civilians put into this facility really makes it easier to maintain those deadlines.”
The mess hall makes a day-to-day menu 21 days in advance, and it is important that they keep to that menu.
“Due to the amount of food we have to prepare, it is crucial that we stick to the menu,” said Sanabriadiaz. “That way we know we have the food in stock, and that we have enough of the food to feed everyone.”
Preparing quality food for service members not only provides a vital source of nutrients for them, but it gives them a little taste of home to help during the time they are deployed.
“We work hard to make sure the food is at 100 percent for the patron’s enjoyment,” said Montgomery. “It also helps boost morale. When people can eat a well-prepared hot meal and even enjoy a little ice cream and cake, it puts everyone in a better mood.”