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An exercise in feeding the fight

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher A. Marasky
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
They say that an Army travels on its stomach, and so does the Air Force, especially as they practice their wartime mission.

Members of the 18th Services Squadron worked diligently during this week's Local Operational Readiness Exercise to help keep the troops well fed and motivated.

Dining facilities here were open throughout the week to provide a hot meal or a 'To Go' lunch for members of the 18th Wing.

The dining facilities saw an increase in patrons over the week as they provided four meals a day, largely due to the local restaurants and AAFES facilities being off limits for exercise purposes.

18th Services members working within the dining facilities during the exercise are required to report to work in the appropriate MOPP level, and to don their gear during the exercise, but with a few different rules.

"In the work center we have one safety observer and everyone else throws on their MOPP gear," said Tech. Sgt. Tina Todaro, 18th Services Squadron. "If they are working with food, then they take it off after two minutes and resume working."

The reason for the two minute rule is for safety, but more importantly for sanitary reasons when handling food.

"It's unsanitary to wear the gear and to work with food," said Airman 1st Class Sarah Ostendorp, 18th Services Squadron. "But if we aren't working with food, then we remain in our MOPP gear for the duration of the alarm."

Exercise players also have special rules while eating within the dining facility during various MOPP levels.

"The safety observer goes into the dining facility, and lets the personnel eating know the MOPP level so that they can don their gear," said Sergeant Todaro.

"If they're eating, they wear their MOPP gear for two minutes, and then they can remove their gear to resume eating, for a time up to 30 minutes," she said. "After they finish eating, they put the appropriate gear back on."

The hard work put into the meals throughout this exercise was worth it to those who work within the dining facilities, according to Airman 1st Class Robert Prince, 18th SVS.

"They come in, looking down and hungry cause they just finished working hard or they're on a short break after working hard," he said. "Once you say 'we have a hot meal for you right here' they just brighten up, and it feels good to see that."

"It's a great feeling to know that I can have an affect on whether someone has a good day or a great day," he said.