February 18, 2016 –
FORT POLK, Louisiana – In the early morning hours, when most Soldiers are snuggled deep in their beds, there are those who are wide-awake and busy firing up the stoves, inspecting and preparing food, and making sure breakfast is served when the rest of the Soldiers wake up, hours later.
For JRTC rotation 16-04, through a collaboration with the 103rd Quartermaster Company, an Army Reserve unit from Houston, Texas, and the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, an active duty unit based in Fort Richardson, Alaska, food service specialists from both units are teaming up to provide for the Soldiers.
“I love what I do,” said Spc. Kiona Ray, a food services specialist with the 425th BSTB.
It was one of her few times working with Army Reserve Soldiers and she was able to see a different side of the Army’s workforce.
“I did not know they were Reserve Soldiers until I talked to them,” said Ray, a Gaston, Alabama native. “They knew what they were doing.”
Staff Sgt. Alfonzo McIntosh, a food service specialist with the 103rd Quartermaster Company, is one of the Army Reserve Soldiers that works hand-in-hand with his active-duty counterparts. As a shift leader for this exercise, he is able to pass on his knowledge to some of the younger Soldiers.
“Working with these Soldiers is great,” he said. “We all have the same mission here and we get the job done right.”
As a former active-duty Soldier, McIntosh can relate to some of the feelings the different components have towards each other.
“I know what it’s like,” McIntosh said. “I also know what it’s like to work with both sides and I love being able to see different friendships form with this partnership.”
The Army Total Force Policy puts mission readiness at the forefront. The joint partnerships are used to certify and validate all the Soldiers.
“Oftentimes, you’ll have an active-duty Soldier not think highly of a Reserve Soldier or vice versa,” said the Oakland, California, native. “Working together here puts into perspective that we are all Soldiers. We all get up in the morning. We all went through basic training. We all serve our country.”