FOB Shank provides RSOI training

Soldiers of 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, fire their weapons at paper targets to ensure the accuracy of their sight systems at Forward Operating Base Shank, Logar Province, Oct. 19. (click for more)

FOB Wright servicemembers complete Army Ten-Miler

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Steven Holding of Janesville, Iowa, (left) and U.S. Army Warrant Officer Marty Osmundson, of Des Moines, Iowa, both members of the Iowa National Guard’s 734th ADT, (click for more)

Army sergeant finds his passion in baking

U.S. Army Sgt. Bill McDonald decorates a cake Joint Operations Center’s in the dining facility on Bagram Airfield Oct. 18. McDonald is a 28-year-old Quincy, Ill., native and a baker (click for more)

Female engagement team makes strides in Kunar

U.S. Army Sgt. Latoya Winham, a human resources sergeant with the 64th MP Company, 205th Military Police Battalion and member of the FOB Wright FET from Anniston, Ala., listens as (click for more)

Team Leader Course helps ANA fight illiteracy

Afghan National Army soldiers Mohammed Qasim and Seenatullah, both natives of Takhar Province, study during the literacy block of the Team Leader Course on Forward Operating Base Thunder, Paktya Province, (click for more)

934th FST: Anatomy of the life-saving process

Members of the 934th Forward Surgical Team unload a patient from the back of a field litter ambulance at Forward Operating Base Sharana recently. (click for more)

Cavalry troopers keep pressure on

U.S. Army Spc. Andrew Stallings, 1st Sq., 172nd Cav. Reg., 86th Inf. BCT, from Greenville, N.C., searches for bomb-making materials during an air assault search operation conducted with members of (click for more)

http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/897731101019_a_9035m_002.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/759731101022_f_5549s_718.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/205601101018_a_2845d_002.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/139488101020_f_3188a_008.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/40563520101017_a_9320c_001.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/910200100906_f_6228l_038.jpg http://cjtf101.com/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/263847101018_a_3904h_003.jpg
/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3518.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3516-fob-wright-servicemembers-complete-army-ten-miler.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3515-army-sergeant-finds-his-passion-in-baking.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3512-female-engagement-team-makes-strides-in-kunar.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3510-team-leader-course-helps-ana-fight-illiteracy.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3506-934th-fst-anatomy-of-the-life-saving-process.htmlhttp://cjtf101.com/en/regional-command-east-news-mainmenu-401/3508-cavalry-troopers-keep-pressure-on.html

 

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Bill McDonald decorates a cake Joint Operations Center’s in the dining facility on Bagram Airfield Oct. 18. McDonald is a 28-year-old Quincy, Ill., native and a baker in the Combined Joint Task Force 101 commander’s DFAC. He is especially known for his creative work in cake art. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Scott Davis, Regional Command East Public Affairs)BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Whoever said “never trust a skinny chef” could not have been thinking about military cooks at the time. Meet the 185-pound U.S. Army Sgt. Bill McDonald.

 

McDonald is a 28 year old Quincy, Ill., native and a baker in the Command Joint Task Force 101 commander’s chow hall. He is especially known for his creative work in making cakes.

McDonald is currently deployed to Afghanistan. He started making cakes in May; about a month of he arrived to Bagram Airfield.

“No one really showed me how to make cakes,” McDonald said. “One day, someone told me to make one by reading the directions but, let me tell you, there’s a lot more to it than that.”

He got his first cooking experience at age 15 when he got a job at a local pizza restaurant. He worked his way up to assistant manager and, since then, has been interested in cooking.

“When I decided to go to college, I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to do,” McDonald said. “I knew I liked to cook and since I had a job doing it, I decided to get into culinary arts.”

McDonald left college early and joined the Army in 2007 for one reason: “I wanted to serve my country,” he said.

He came in as a cook and deployed almost as soon as he got to Fort Campbell, Ky.

“I was the chow runner for one of the entry-control points on Bagram,” McDonald said. “I had to prepare food for 200 people four times a day and drive it out to the ECPs. I also had to clean the dishes in between meals, so I was really busy.”

Now on his second deployment with the 101st to Afghanistan, McDonald says there isn’t much he would change.

“I work long hours, and I’m away from my wife, but I love my job,” he said. “My sergeant started teaching me little tricks and tips when I started making cakes, and now that’s all I’m focused on, bettering myself.”

He has been recognized by a lot of the headquarters staff since he started making cakes, including receiving a coin from the 101st Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Col. Pete Johnson.

“He’s an outstanding baker and leader,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Kevin Cook, a Fort Campbell, Ky., resident and noncommissioned officer in charge of rations for the commander’s dining facility. “If anyone here on base is looking for the best quality in cakes, it’s going to come from Sgt. Mac.”

“It’s one of the best feelings when people go out of their way to find out who made their cake,” McDonald said.

With his popularity, McDonald is always in demand. He usually bakes two cakes a day for meals and at least one extra each day for special events.

“I think his cakes are outstanding,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Victor Fernandez, a San Antonio native and the CJTF-101 communication sergeant major. “My office hits the gym everyday so we can enjoy his cakes on Sunday. Having something homemade like that takes you away from this environment and reconnects you with the basic pleasures of life.”

His most-requested cake is chocolate cake with buttercream icing, but he said that could be due to limited supplies.

“I stay late a couple nights a week to make cakes for people, but it’s worth it,” he said. “It really is an honor for me.”

Even though he has learned so much in culinary arts since being deployed, McDonald said he can’t wait to go on leave to enjoy his wife’s cooking.

“At home, my wife’s the cook,” he said. “She makes this chocolate cake with chocolate icing that I can’t wait to eat again.”

When McDonald gets back to the States, he plans on expanding his cake-creating passion by learning how to use different ingredients.

“Right now, I’m limited to what I can learn because we are limited on supplies,” he said. “But when we get back to the States, I’m going to learn how to use fondant like you see on TV.”

 

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Bill McDonald decorates a cake in the Joint Operations Center’s dining facility on Bagram Airfield Oct. 18. McDonald is a 28-year-old Quincy, Ill., native and a baker in the Combined Joint Task Force 101 commander’s DFAC. He is especially known for his creative work in cake art. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Scott Davis, Regional Command East Public Affairs)BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Bill McDonald prepares to decorate a cake in the Joint Operations Center’s dining facility on Bagram Airfield Oct. 18. McDonald is a 28-year-old Quincy, Ill., native and a baker in the Combined Joint Task Force 101 commander’s DFAC. He is especially known for his creative work in cake art. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Scott Davis, Regional Command East Public Affairs)BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – A cake made by U.S. Army Sgt. Bill McDonald, a baker from 101st Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, is displayed to celebrate the Army's birthday in the Combined Joint Task Force 101 Joint Operations Center on Bagram Airfield June 14. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Bill McDonald, baker for Combined Joint Task Force 101 commander's dining facility)
 

Last Updated on Friday, 22 October 2010 21:53
 

    

Related Links

Bagram Airfield

The Flood

English

Dari

Thunder

Thunder

Fallen Heroes

Language Selection

Press Releases

Eastern Afghanistan courts open trials to public

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Jalalabad City Primary Court held a public trial Oct. 19, a rarity within Regional Command – East.

Read more...
 
Taliban leader killed during Pech River Valley operation

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Coalition forces learned that Gul Nabi, a mid-level Taliban commander was killed in an engagement with the combined security forces Oct. 17.

Read more...
 
Laghman PRT provides rehabilitation funds for canal, road

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The Ali Khel Canal Rehabilitation, funded by the Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team, recently provided irrigation water for 500 hectares of crop land and approximately 500 families in and around Ali Khel village here.

Read more...
 
Afghans defend homes, villages

KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan villagers and coalition forces repelled Taliban forces Oct. 8 in Afghanya Valley during an attack that lasted nearly three hours.

Read more...