In the Life of Marines: Food Service Specialist

By Pfc. Kelcey Seymour Marine Corps Installations Pacific

Military occupational specialties are the foundation of the Marine Corps. Each MOS is a cog, working with and relying on each other to keep the fighting machine that is the United States Marine Corps running. Food service specialists are one of these cogs.

Food service specialists are the Marines in charge of cataloging, cooking and supplying Marines with food while in garrison or on field operations. Their mission is to keep Marines fed so they have the energy to complete their mission.

Marines have to be fit and healthy to complete their mission. One way food service specialists keep Marines healthy is by following the food criteria. The mess hall offers an all-you-can-eat salad bar with fresh vegetables and fruit, while the hot food lines serve proportioned helpings of grains and protein recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture. They offer infused water, fruit juices and milk as healthier alternatives to the carbonated drinks also available. All of these options help keep Marines healthy and mission ready.

“Marines are always hungry so our job is to make sure that they are satisfied,” said Sgt. Veda Durbin, a food service specialist with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installation Pacific-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan. “You can’t expect a Marine in the field to go out and do their job to the best of their ability if they are hungry. It’s a necessity.”

Food service specialists do an array of jobs aside from preparing and cooking food. Additional duties they have include ordering supplies from contracted dealers, storing supplies required for consumption and keeping detailed records. All transactions from purchases, inventory and received goods are prepared in reports for evaluation.

“We do everything that involves food,” said Pfc. Sangmin Bae, a food service specialist with H&S Bn. “As long as Marines come to us hungry and leave full, we did our job.”

To have enough time to do all their job entails the food service specialist start their day at 3 a.m. during the week. Their days end in the evening after the preparations for the next day’s meals is complete and the equipment is clean. Food service specialists work long and hard every day so their fellow Marines will not go hungry.

“The best thing is coming in and seeing the Marines getting excited about their favorite meal being on the line or a birthday meal being served,” said Durbin. “You can see how excited they are to eat the food we made. That has to be the best part.”

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Marine Corps Installations Pacific website.