Camp Kitchen

Food is an important part of any exercise or activity. The camp kitchen is also often the unofficial HQ. Here we record some camp food classics and people who have helped prepare them over the years.

The servery at West Melton Army Range, breakfast Exercise Ardua 2017.

Kitchen Helpers

The Wechs

Mr. Neil and Mrs. Kathy Wech become involved in the unit when their son Tom (now FLTLT Tom Wech) joined cadets. For 17 years Neil and Kathy were camp father and camp mother to the cadets of the unit.

Neil, an electrician by trade, was an expect at all things electrical and engineering. His skills were often called on to fix the facilities at the various lodges used by the unit – tinkering with the plumbing, lighting, generators and field kitchen set-up. Neil also took thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of photos during his time with the unit.

Kathy took on the role of head chef, preparing thousands of servings of porridge, cooked breakfasts, ham and coleslaw sandwiches, nachos, devilled sausages, fried rice, frankfurters, hot chocolates and more. Kathy’s kitchen also served as an aid post for homesick cadets and those needing a hot water bottle to lift their spirits. Kathy also sewed-on many patches, mended uniforms and kept the unit in good supply of short sleeve shirts by altering the less uterlised RNZAFRNZAF Royal New Zealand Air Force.-surplus long sleeve shirts.

In March 2019, Neil and Kathy retired from their role as camp helpers after 17 years. Neil continues to be involved in both the USCUSC Unit Support Committee. as secretary and as a representative for ATCANZATCANZ The Air Training Corps Association of New Zealand..

Mr. Neil and Mrs. Kathy Wech on their retirement, Recruit Camp 2019.
Mrs. Jenny Wech, Mrs. Kathy Wech and FLTLT Mel Pendly (left to right), pictured outside the kitchen at West Melton Army Range in 2017.

Camp Food

Deviled Sausages

Cadets being served up deviled sausages with peas and mash potato by SQNLDR Shane Cole, FGOFF Jarren Beckett and Mrs. Jenny Wech (front to rear), Exercise Takahe 2018.

Packed Lunch

A classic for sustaining cadets going tramping or to the shooting range. A packed lunch contains:

  • One or two sandwiches – Budget white bread, table spread/margarine, carrot and cabbage coleslaw, egg (optional), beetroot (optional).
  • Muesli bar.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Home baking.
Preparing a packed lunch, Exercise Frostybird 2018.


Just before midday on the final day of almost every unit exercise, a large stock pot sits full on boiling frankfurters. Why do we always have frankfurters? According to SQNLDR Shane Cole, It’s an easy lunchtime meal that doesn’t create a lot of dishes or mess in the kitchen.

Frankfurters are always served as follows: ‘Firsts’ served with Budget white bread, onions, tomato sauce and/or mustard. ‘Seconds’ consists of more of the same. Finally, the staff attempt to empty the pot by offering up frankfurters to anyone who is still hungry, or makes eye contact.

The record for the most consumed sits at 19.

NCOs being tempted into further frankfurters by FGOFF Jarren Beckett and FLTLT Mel Pendly (left to right), Exercise Taiaha 2019.