Chatter filled the air as Marines of all ranks and jobs took a small pause from their work and the sun cast its last warm, golden rays over Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “Rolling Thunder” was quiet for the group Marines and sailors gathered around warm trays of chicken potpie, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and the crowd favorite, red velvet cake.
The two-week training exercise Rolling Thunder tested the Marines’ and sailors’ abilities to work as a Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and the food service specialists of the logistics combat element played their part by boosting the morale for the duration, Oct. 15-29, 2014.
Food service specialists prepared hot meals twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. A typical breakfast consisted of eggs, sausages and fruits. Meats, starches like potatoes or rice, and vegetables made up the dinner meals. Marines also enjoyed coffee, juices, and cakes with their meals.
“It’s nice to eat something warm that you don’t have to open out of a package while you’re in the field,” said Gunnery Sgt. Stanley Clink, a watch chief for Headquarters Battery, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, and a Sweetwater, Tenn., native. “Marines definitely appreciate the chance to talk about their day over a hot meal.”
Marines bonded over the array of warm dishes served by the food service specialists, while also getting an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the Marines who prepared the food.
“It’s nice being able to actually meet everyone face-to-face. In garrison, no one really knows who is behind all the meals,” said Sgt. Laron Murray, a food service specialist with 10th Marines, and Houston, native.
Hard work, constant movement, and limited sleep can cause stress and sour a Marine’s demeanor, but Pfc. Donte Wright, a food service specialist with the unit, from Edenton, North Carolina, noticed the happiness the meals he prepared brought to the Marines who ate them.
“Being able to get hot food brings joy to people’s days,” said Wright. “It’s a great feeling knowing I can bring a smile to someone’s face by filling their stomach.”