Military News

Thursday, March 05, 2015

DFAC steps up ops during KR15

by Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel
7th Air Force Public Affairs


3/4/2015 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Stirred, chopped, baked, broiled or braised, any way you whisk it, the 51st Force Support Squadron has heated up its operations to accommodate increased customers during Key Resolve 2015.

During the two-week exercise the base can swell with more than 1,500 additional mouths to feed, ranging from fellow Airmen to joint service, coalition partners and civilians.

"The menus we're offering during Key Resolve are the same as normal, just in higher quantities due to the extra personnel, but there are some challenges," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Hammond, 51st FSS NCO in charge of Pacific House Dining Facility operations. "Cooking the correct amount of food takes more time and more staff."

Augmentees are brought in from around the Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps to fill in and take some of the stress off of the permanent party Airmen. Although these augmentees wear the same uniform, they are an integrated force of Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Airmen.

Airman 1st Class Andrew Flinn, an Illinois Air National Guardsman food service apprentice with the 183rd Force Support Squadron, took the opportunity to deploy to the Peninsula for the chance to learn.

"Breaking out of the one weekend a month mentality I have been in for the last year, has opened my eyes and given me the opportunity to support a big operation like this," said the Havana, Illinois, native. "Getting to know a new kitchen and learning new things like running the grill has been a huge plus, but the most rewarding opportunity has been to work within a new culture."

Flinn's Korean vocabulary has broadened from zero to a few short phrases he has learned from local civilian kitchen staff. He can often be heard uttering, "kam-sa-ham-ni-da," which means, "thank you." He also noted his Korean counterparts' extremely dedicated work ethics to make sure the massive meals are on time and cleaned up.

In addition to the help in the kitchen, Hammond noted the exercise is an excellent opportunity to improve operations.

"Augmentees come in with experience from their home bases and ideas we can learn from and utilize here at home station," he said. "So, this is a good opportunity to train and continue to sharpen our skills for the mission here."

Even though the manpower challenge is easily overcome, a temporary regulatory problem has caused a slight change in the menu.

"There is an embargo on chicken breast, which is what we use for a lot of our meals," Hammond said. "Easy fix; we just adjust to approved frozen or local chicken products to fill our menu. In some cases it has proven to provide a wider variety."

Reinforced with the 10 augmentees, five from each service, the DFAC has extended exercise hours and proven its non-stop commitment to excellence, Hammond said.

"It's always a good thing when we get a chance to meet and network," he said. "It provides a great opportunity to train to improve the quality of life we aim to give our teammates here at Osan and around the world during peacetime and contingency operations."

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