by Senior Airman Malia Jenkins
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
6/16/2015 - ROYAL AIR FORCE FAIRFORD, England -- Hundreds
of military personnel walk through the doors of the dining facility
each day, hungry for the fuel they need to complete their mission while
forward deployed to Royal Air Force Fairford in support of BALTOPS 15
and Saber Strike 15.
For breakfast, lunch and dinner--even midnight chow-- they are greeted
by a variety of friendly faces: local university students, international
students, Fairford residents and military chefs. For some of the dining
facility staff members, this is their first time working on the base
and interacting with members of the U.S. armed forces.
"Working with the members of the military is fine. They are really
polite and well mannered," said Marimba Kircher, a cook at the DFAC and
university student in Bristol, United Kingdom.
Although they don't have a military-service background, the DFAC staff
has a service before self-attitude. It's an ethos that serves them well
when accommodating customers with food allergies or other dietary
requirements - even vegetarians or vegans.
"It's our job to make sure our eaters get what they need. We're here to
serve and to make sure no one feels left out," said Beverly Kipande, a
cook at the DFAC who is currently in school for her Master's Degree in
RAF Fairford is considered a "warm" base maintained by the U.S. Air
Force. With an approximately 10,000-foot runway and its proximity to
Royal Air Force Welford, the base has a unique and versatile capability
and is an ideal training area for large-scale exercises.
The base was transformed from a "warm" status to an active status in
support of the BALTOPS and Saber Strike training missions, where the
base supports more than 200 personnel.
Mark Spencer, a staff member at the DFAC, said he always comes back when
there's work available at the base, because the military personnel are
pleasant to be around and polite. The staff at the dining facility is
here to cater to everyone, he said.
"As a vegan, deployments and TDY's can be challenging," said Master Sgt.
Zachary Melin, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs chief of operations.
"Finding healthy meals is sometimes difficult when I don't have the
facilities to prepare my own food."
"The staff here has been very flexible. Honestly, I've never experienced
service quite this accommodating at a deployed location," Melin added.
According to Melin, quality food service is vital to the operation.
Having nutritious meals available could be the difference between
mission success or mission failure.
"I think it's important that everyone has an opportunity to eat a
balanced diet. If you're not getting all the nutrients you need, your
work could suffer as a result," Melin said. "The dining facility staff
has done a great job ensuring our Airmen have what they need - even
those with unique requirements."