SPRINGFIELD -- After weeks of training, the Army's newest cooks graduated from the Culinary Specialist reclassification course at Camp Lincoln, in Springfield, Illinois, Aug. 20.
The course, taught by the 2nd Battalion 129th Regional Training Institute based at Camp Lincoln, is one of the only two available outside of Fort Lee, Virginia.
Seventeen soldiers from 13 states graduated from the course, including two from the Illinois Army National Guard: Pfc. Lexcee Breen of Eldorado, a soldier with the Forward Support Company, 123rd Engineer Battalion based in Murphysboro, and Sgt. Gloria Diggs of Macomb, a soldier with the 233rd Military Police Company based in Springfield.
To graduate, the soldiers had to complete a rigorous two-phase course consisting of more than 200 academic hours, five written exams and two hands-on evaluations. During the first phase, students learn food safety, techniques of cookery, small quantity baking and are familiarized with garrison dining facility equipment. In phase two, students train on dining facility operations, field feeding operations and field feeding equipment.
Jolene Adams, Culinary Institute Coordinator at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois, welcomed the graduates to the culinary field.
"Congratulations and welcome to the culinary world," Adams said. "Food is one the most important parts of our culture. It's all around us, it's necessary to live and it brings us together as a people."