24th MEU (SOC) and German cooks form team in Kosovo

25 Sep 2002 | Sgt. Zachary A. Bathon

With more than 600 hungry Marines and German Soldiers to feed, cooks from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) and the German Army from Multi-National Brigade South work together to provide three meals a day in the mess hall here.

While most of the food prepared is mainly traditional German cooking, the Marines add a bit of American flavor to mix, trading ideas and offering a different perspective to the food.

"We use a lot of pork and potatoes in the food here," said Cpl. Carole Tindle, cook and Rindge, N.H. native. "Back home and on the ship we use more chicken and beef, so it is good to get to prepare different meals than we are used to."
"At first it was hard to adapt to their way of doing things, but the Germans are very nice and fun to work with," said Pfc. Chaleb McHone, cook and Montgomery, Ala. native.

One thing that makes this team unique is their ability to communicate with each other despite the language barrier.

"Only a few of the Germans speak English," said Cpl. Jovan Ransom, cook and
Brunswick, Ga. native. "So most of the time we use signs with our hands or we write things out so they can understand. Sometimes it is pretty funny trying to tell them something."

The Germans also agree that the language barrier makes working with the Americans unique. "This is the first time we Germans have worked with another military in our galley," said Pfc. Pascal Freundorfer, German cook. "Sometimes we have to talk to each other using our hands and legs, but it seems to work."

The Marines also like the environment of the Prizen mess hall. "On ship things are so hectic and fast-paced," said Ransom. "This is a nice break from the ship and the meals are a lot easier to prepare here."

"Here we have a lot of cold food, like salad and lunch meats," said Cpl. Jose Chalarca, cook and Englewood, N.J. native. "That makes things a little less stressful than we were used to on ship."

With a friendly work environment established, the Marines have made the most of their time with the Germans even learning some new recipes to take with them.
"A few days ago we made potato pancakes," said Tindle. "Ever since then, I have had people coming up to me and asking me when we were going to make them again. That was cool."

Overall the Marines said their experience in Kosovo is something that will stay with them forever. "Being here in Kosovo is a good experience," said McHone. "I joined the Marine Corps to travel and that is what I'm doing. The Germans here are very nice and it is fun place to work."