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Food service soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Sustainment Command and 3rd Cavalry Regiment come together to support shifts for the new food truck at Fort Hood, Texas, which will serve three meals a day at three locations on base. Soldiers train for about two weeks to learn to prepare single-serve meals.
Food service soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Sustainment Command and 3rd Cavalry Regiment come together to support shifts for the new food truck at Fort Hood, Texas, which will serve three meals a day at three locations on base. Soldiers train for about two weeks to learn to prepare single-serve meals. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Food service soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Sustainment Command and 3rd Cavalry Regiment come together to support shifts for the new food truck at Fort Hood, Texas, which will serve three meals a day at three locations on base. Soldiers train for about two weeks to learn to prepare single-serve meals.
Food service soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Sustainment Command and 3rd Cavalry Regiment come together to support shifts for the new food truck at Fort Hood, Texas, which will serve three meals a day at three locations on base. Soldiers train for about two weeks to learn to prepare single-serve meals. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Staff Sgt. Victoria Corona orders a burrito from the touchscreen menu of the Culinary Outpost food truck Feb. 6, 2020, at Fort Hood, Texas. The truck is the Army's sixth and the first to offer a Tex-Mex menu.
Staff Sgt. Victoria Corona orders a burrito from the touchscreen menu of the Culinary Outpost food truck Feb. 6, 2020, at Fort Hood, Texas. The truck is the Army's sixth and the first to offer a Tex-Mex menu. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Spc. Isiah Lee checks on fries as they cook in an air fryer on the Culinary Outpost food truck Feb. 6, 2020, at Fort Hood, Texas. As part of the Army's initiative to offer soldiers healthier meal options, the food trucks do not have traditional grease fryers.
Spc. Isiah Lee checks on fries as they cook in an air fryer on the Culinary Outpost food truck Feb. 6, 2020, at Fort Hood, Texas. As part of the Army's initiative to offer soldiers healthier meal options, the food trucks do not have traditional grease fryers. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Paninis made to order with fresh ingredients are one of the menu options available at the Culinary Outpost food truck at Fort Hood, Texas. Soldiers can also choose from burgers, burritos and salads.
Paninis made to order with fresh ingredients are one of the menu options available at the Culinary Outpost food truck at Fort Hood, Texas. Soldiers can also choose from burgers, burritos and salads. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Pvt. Aniyaa Carter scoops pinto beans for a Tex-Mex burrito bowl Feb. 6, 2020, at Fort Hood, Texas. Though this is the Army's sixth food truck, Fort Hood's is the first to offer Tex-Mex menu items.
Pvt. Aniyaa Carter scoops pinto beans for a Tex-Mex burrito bowl Feb. 6, 2020, at Fort Hood, Texas. Though this is the Army's sixth food truck, Fort Hood's is the first to offer Tex-Mex menu items. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Sgt. Maj. Sylvia Thomas, III Corps chief culinary management sergeant major, welcomes customers to Fort Hood's Culinary Outpost food truck Feb. 6, 2020. The Army has six trucks at five bases to get meals to soldiers working in locations on base that are not close to a dining facility.
Sgt. Maj. Sylvia Thomas, III Corps chief culinary management sergeant major, welcomes customers to Fort Hood's Culinary Outpost food truck Feb. 6, 2020. The Army has six trucks at five bases to get meals to soldiers working in locations on base that are not close to a dining facility. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)

FORT HOOD, Texas – With its patriotic colors and gleaming silver panels, the Culinary Outpost food truck opened for business at Fort Hood, Texas, on Thursday, offering soldiers dining facility meals and prices from its rolling kitchen.

As the Army’s sixth food truck, the mobile food service is meant to reach soldiers working in far-flung locations of the base where there’s not enough time to get to a dining facility and back before their break is over.

“Some soldiers weren’t eating, or they would just go to the [convenience story],” Sgt. Maj. Sylvia Thomas, III Corps Culinary Management sergeant major, said they learned through surveying soldiers who live and work far from traditional dining facilities, where young soldiers living in the barracks can use meal cards. Other soldiers commented that their only dining options were commercial fast food or restaurants.

“The truck is intended to fill those gaps,” Thomas said. “We asked soldiers, ‘At mealtimes, where are you when you are not able to eat?’”

Three locations, one for breakfast, lunch and dinner, were identified, and now about 200 soldiers per mealtime will be able to dine at the Culinary Outpost, which accepts meal cards and cash. Thomas expects a credit card option to be available by the end of the year.

The program began about three years ago with two trucks at Fort Stewart, Ga., then expanded to Fort Carson, Colo., Fort Drum, N.Y., and Fort Bragg, N.C., said Darryl Thomas, food services systems analyst for the Army at Fort Lee, Va. Most trucks have meet and then exceeded expectations, he said.

“It’s been a success thus far. It’s keeping us in line with industry and taking care of soldiers,” said Darryl Thomas, who served 26 years in Army food service and retired as a warrant officer.

Soldiers spent about two weeks training on the food truck with personnel from Fort Lee’s Joint Culinary Center of Excellence, mostly learning to prepare single-serve meals in close quarters as opposed to the mass production associated with dining facilities.

Each truck is named the Culinary Outpost and serves a similar menu of sandwiches and salads. However, while the previous five trucks also have an Asian menu with stir-fry bowls, the Fort Hood truck has a Tex-Mex menu with tacos, burritos and burrito bowls.

To keep with the Army’s initiative to make meals healthier for soldiers, the newer food trucks sent to Drum, Bragg and Hood are outfitted with air fryers to cook French fries, instead of traditional grease fryers. These newer trucks also feature a touchscreen menu where troops can place their order.

Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz in Germany is the next location expected to get a food truck, and a second is headed elsewhere in the country in 2021, Darryl Thomas said.

Thayer.rose@stripes.com Twitter: @Rose_Lori

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