Story by SFC Kelvin Ringold on 07/23/2019FORT HOOD The Army is a high operational tempo organization that depends on many factors in order to obtain mission success. While the Army has some of the most powerful equipment and resources at its disposal, its number one resource remains the Soldiers who don their uniforms every day to train, maintain and sustain themselves and the warfighter. For these Soldiers to remain at a peak performance level mentally and physically, they must be properly fueled, and 92G culinary specialists take that mission seriously.
The Vikings of the 553rd Field Feeding Company, 61st Quartermaster Battalion, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, held an activation and assumption-of-command ceremony on Hildner Field July 23.
The 553rd FFC is a consolidation of culinary specialists and field feeding equipment and consists of approximately 250 Soldiers separated into a headquarters section and three field feeding platoons. Each field feeding platoon is further broken down into thirteen field feeding teams capable of supporting up to 700 personnel each. This allows the company to provide subsistence support for up to 9,100 Soldiers.
"Our mission is to provide field feeding to Army Echelons Above Brigade operating forces," said Capt. Aramis M. Brewington, Commander, 553rd FFC. "This company plans, manages, supervises and administers field feeding operations by deploying on demand with customer organizations as required."
Since January 2018, the 553rd FFC was the eighth FFC to be activated in the Army and will be the first of two FFCs to activate on Fort Hood.
The increased emphasis on establishing FFCs is imperative to better support the warfighter and the Army's number one resource.
"As any Soldier will tell you, food is critical to morale," said Lt. Col. Alphonso Simmons, Commander, 61st Quartermaster Battalion. "The importance of wholesome, appetizing food to morale and fighting ability of an Army is hard to underestimate. Food plays a crucial role in combat efficiency."
As the 553rd commander addressed the Soldiers, leaders and loved ones in attendance, he began to reflect on the planning that made standing up the unit possible.
"Several months ago, I distinctly remember thinking about how daunting the task ahead seemed," Brewington said. "Where to start, where to focus and just being as deliberate as possible. I spent a ridiculous amount of time just thinking about the game plan."
Looking back at when the unit had just four Soldiers initially to now having three companies established in two different states, Brewington could not help but bask in the unit's major accomplishment.
"I remember how eager everyone was to start building the foundation," Brewington said. "And here we are today a part of the 553rd Field Feeding Company. Many of which are in front of you standing proud as a newly activated company. We've also got Soldiers operating in Always Ready Dining Facility, Patriot Inn Dining Facility and let's not forget about third platoon located at Fort Sill."
Before activation, 553rd established a name for themselves during the spring's Warfighter Exercise 19-4 providing meals for over 500 United States and coalition forces daily, providing support for 602nd Military Intelligence Battalion in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, during their field training exercise and providing support for III Corps and Fort Hood units.
With all of these accomplishments, Brewington could not be any more proud of the Soldiers under his command.
"We hit the ground running and the Soldiers displayed incredible perseverance in honing or developing new skills that a typical 92G has not been involved with before," Brewington explained. "Yet they've overcome each challenge and continued to build the company one brick at a time. All while still providing quality class one support in both the field and in the dining facilities."
After an emotional ceremony, the Army's newest FFC commander just wanted to let the Soldiers, and those that support them, know how much they were appreciated.
"I want to sincerely thank everyone again that was involved in our activation," Brewington said. "I'm excited to continue working with this great group of Soldiers and as we continue to build on this strong foundation, brick by brick and hour by hour."