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Cooking for the field

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Lealan Buehrer & Tech. Sgt. Dawn Rademaker
  • 182nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

How many MREs did it take to feed 47 military members for two weeks in field conditions? Zero, because services specialists from the 182nd Force Support Squadron were there to feed them.

When the 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron departed their Illinois Air National Guard base to build veteran’s houses in the middle of the rural Crow Reservation, Montana, they brought with them six Airmen armed with an on-site mobile kitchen and a mission to serve.

The result was fresh-cooked meals and many full bellies, which supported the construction operations.

“If you’re hungry, you’re angry, and you don’t want to work. Good food keeps you happy,” said Senior Airman Douglas Curlee, a water and fuel systems maintenance specialist with the 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron.

Having hot food and fresh sandwiches in the field was a big change for the three Montana Army National Guard concrete and masonry specialists augmenting the squadron, said Army Staff Sgt. Stevn Henken of the 230th Vertical Engineer Company.

“The morale of my guys has been way better with fresh food. It gets them going in the morning, fresh coffee made every day,” he said. “[Services specialists] put in a lot of hard work, and it shows with our meals.”

The services team ran their operation out of a Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen Trailer, or DMRKT.

“You can do just about anything you can do on base in this kitchen,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Leigh, a training manager with the 120th Force Support Squadron, Montana Air National Guard. “We’ve got two full ovens, flattop grill, a stockpot station, a three-compartment sink and then a tray ration heater which can also double as making pasta or boiling water, or whatever else you need it for.”

No equipment could add up to the hardworking services Airmen, however, whose duty day overshadowed the rest at the Innovative Readiness Training program’s construction site.

Both Curlee and Henken said they wished to extend a “thank you” to the services team.

“You know, they work long hours. A lot of people don’t know it that they wake up probably before us, they stay after,” said Curlee. “When we’re in our civilian clothes, they’re still feeding us dinner.”

The Airmen and soldiers’ two-week rotation to the Montana Crow Tribe Housing 2017 site is scheduled to conclude Aug. 6. More information on the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training civil-military relations program can be found at http://irt.defense.gov.