WATERTOWN — On a warm Thursday afternoon, Pvt. Paul Dean quickly gobbled down a burger and a double order of french fries that he ordered from a new food truck at Fort Drum.

Making its debut on post, the red, white and blue Culinary Outpost food truck pulled up in front of Clark Hall to serve quick and healthy meals for soldiers on the go, said Brig. Gen. Michelle Schmidt, deputy commander general for support at Fort Drum.

New service promotes eating well while on the go

A Fort Drum soldier takes her lunch from the Culinary Outpost food truck on Thursday. Fort Drum is one of the installations in the Army to receive a food truck that will be a training place for the Army’s Joint Culinary Center of Excellence staff. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

“It’s the first one in the entire Army,” said Lt. Col. Kamil Sztalkoper, of Fort Drum’s division public information office.

By noon, soldiers lined up at the brand-spanking new food truck that features an air fryer, griddle, stove top and microwave.

Five culinary specialists cooked up burgers, Asian special bowls, wraps and an array of desserts inside the truck.

The idea is: if a soldier eats well, they are ready for the mission, Brig. Gen. Schmidt said.

New service promotes eating well while on the go

Raven Brundidge, food service analyst at Fort Lee, Va., left, helps a Fort Drum soldier order food via a touch screen on Thursday at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

To order their food, soldiers stepped up to a kiosk and each used a tap of the finger to select from the menu’s many items.

“This is really high-tech,” said Pvt. Dean, a Red Sox fan from Boston.

Master Sgt. Dwight Copeland, the NCO in charge of Fort Drum’s culinary services, said the food truck staff spent two weeks of training at the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence at Fort Lee in Virginia, learning the menu, ordering procedures and food preparation.

“We’re very excited to get this on the road,” the master sergeant said.

New service promotes eating well while on the go

The Culinary Outpost food truck on Thursday at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Costing between $250,000 and $300,000, the food truck — with the slogan “Eat Well Perform Well” on the side - will be seen all over Fort Drum, he said. Its location will be marketed on Facebook, through emails, Instagram and word of mouth.

The trucks also are heading to Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Hood, Texas; Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Fort Riley, Kan.; and Fort Bliss, Texas.

New service promotes eating well while on the go

Soldiers wait to order food from the Culinary Outpost food truck on Thursday at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

In 2017, the pilot program began in Fort Stewart in Georgia and Fort Carson in Colorado with the first versions of the Culinary Outpost trucks.

The latest model is complete with cold weather upgrades for the north country’s harsh winters. A New Jersey firm was commissioned by the Army to manufacture the trucks.

New service promotes eating well while on the go

A Fort Drum solider takes her lunch from the Culinary Outpost food truck on Thursday at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Soldiers said the days of the Army feeding troops on K-rations are long gone. The 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade is unveiling the new food truck as part of the Army’s modernization of food services.

Another dining opportunity, Grab-and-Go, a food kiosk that serves quick meals, opened nearby on post three months ago.

A new convenience store with prepared food also made its debut a few weeks ago.

New service promotes eating well while on the go

Food inside the Culinary Outpost food truck on Thursday at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Waiting for her order to come up, Brig. Gen. Schmidt looked forward to her chicken panini with spinach and lettuce for lunch.

“It’s all healthy,” she said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment

Holmes

Nothing more than a polished roach coach.

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