Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Hoffman, NC – The United States Army Special Forces Command G-4 completed their second of four Islamic Field Feeding Courses preparing Culinary Specialists for duty in Afghanistan.

The primary objective of this course is to show the command’s MOS 92Gs how to prepare authentic Afghan dishes so that Special Forces teams can support Afghan National Army units and entertain host-nation local villagers in order to build relationships based in trust and respect. 

Students traveled from Fort Bragg, NC to the Oak Grove Training Center, where Check Defense facilitated the training. Upon arrival, students are immersed in a cultural learning experience which replicates an environment they will encounter when deployed to Afghanistan.

Some of the more important aspects of the Islamic cooking course include detailed explanation of foods which are “halal” and other foods that are “haram” (approved or forbidden) by Islamic law. Other topic areas include Afghan culture, religion, history and an in-depth comparison of American and Afghan cultural characteristics.

Identifying these cultural differences allows students to better understand Afghan values, and ultimately build stronger relationships with their Afghan counterparts. Daily practical exercises employ various scenarios that simulate situations students may find themselves in when working with their Afghan partners, and how to find mutually satisfying solutions.

Specialists Andrenia Fenner and Rebecca Bilbrey practice making naan or Afghan Bread in an authentic Tandoor oven as found in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

This course, the second in a series of four, covers different types of Afghan dishes and how they are prepared. Authenticity is paramount in order to convey the significance of Afghan traditions and recipes. Students begin by preparing Afghan bread, or Naan, using Tandoor ovens as found in Afghanistan. Local recipes are used and the authentic techniques such as slapping the bread dough to the side of the oven and then removing it when ready are demonstrated. Afghan instructors ensure all students have an opportunity to become proficient with this very important basic recipe and technique. From there, students are introduced to Afghan rice, stew, vegetable, salad, and meat recipes which they practice and consume as part of the class. 

One day of the course is dedicated to the different cuts and cooking techniques of meat. Live animals are onsite while a North Carolina certified veterinarian provides information on how to inspect animals for diseases communicable from animals to humans. Afghan instructors also explain how halal slaughter techniques are used to prepare animals for meals. While no animals are injured or killed in this class, a thorough explanation is demonstrated so that students understand how and why host nation locals employ these practices.

Dr. Bruce Akers, demonstrates the proper technique to examine poultry to ensure it is free of disease and safe to consume.

The last day of the course brings together all techniques and cultural applications demonstrated throughout the week as students prepare a full meal for honored guests and members of their commands. Preparation begins in the early morning hours as students work toward a target serving time. Students work as a team, organizing every aspect of the meal and the proper serving techniques. Afghan cooking and cultural instructors monitor student progress through each phase of the meal preparation to include serving and culminating with the tea service. Students are also given a written test to evaluate their knowledge of different aspects of Afghan history, religion, and culture along with recipes and cultural dos and don’ts.

Another objective of this course provides students with the cultural tools to help prevent “Green on Blue” incidents through understandings while building trust and respect with their host nation locals and counterparts. This is stressed throughout the course and practiced through daily exercises. All instructors are open and honest about what works and what to avoid when working with Afghani workers and soldiers. Real world examples are used to compliment these lessons and student experiences are also highlighted from students who have returned from recent Afghan deployment.

Check Defense partners with Oak Grove Technologies to employ both Afghan-cultural and cooking subject matter experts as well as experienced SOF military instructors to deliver authentic training conducted in a truly immersive learning environment.

Participant testimonials herald the value of the proper mix of classroom instruction coupled with field application in enabling mission accomplishment along with increased team survivability. Along with the Islamic Field Feeding Course for Afghanistan, Check Defense also offers cooking course for Eastern and Western Africa along with the Philippines. 

About Oak Grove

Throughout the Armed Forces, across federal government agencies, in Law Enforcement, healthcare and beyond our expert staff is delivering results-oriented solutions that are changing the way people live and work for the better.

Our full suite of instructional services includes tactical field training and web-based and mobile learning solutions to prepare teams to successfully execute any mission. We specialize in language, regional expertise, and culture services, and develop truly immersive cultural environments and training programs. We deliver expert intelligence services to support the warfighter, and empower people and their message through strategic communications and information technology services.

Oak Grove mentors owners of veteran small businesses and sponsors special events that honor and aid our veteran community. Additionally, over 75% of our employees have served in the military. Our Service Continues…



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