Fuel the body and keep the jets flying
By Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson, 169th FW/PA
/ Published June 03, 2013
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- Everyone knows that food fuels the body. This is especially true when the body is worked through a few extra Readiness Exercise hours during those hot S.C. spring and summer days.
The 169th Force Support Squadron's Services Flight is able to supply flight line and maintenance personnel with easier access to some of that much needed fuel. The Single Palletized Expeditionary Kitchen is an asset 169th SVF personnel provides, to deliver a hot meal to those who cannot afford the usual amount of time taken for lunch in the base dining facility, during exercise and inspection drill weekends.
"The SPEK is convenient for the flight line personnel and that's who it's mainly for," said Tech. Sgt. Denise Bhola, 169th SVF food services shift leader.
During the June Unit Training Assembly Readiness Exercise, the 169th SVF had a nine-person team set up and operate the SPEK next to the flight line entry control point. Because of the SPEK, aircraft maintainers were able to refuel themselves with a hot meal and minimal disruption from their duties.
"It helps keep them mission oriented and focused on the task at hand," said Bhola. "Everyone's mission on base is to keep the jets flying, so we're doing our part by feeding them over here."
Bhola commented that flight line workers seemed appreciative when they went through the SPEK food line in past exercises.
"If they didn't have the SPEK, who knows when or what they'd have time to eat. It's convenient to them, which is important to keep the jets flying," said Bhola.
"It was definitely convenient," stated Airman 1st Class Jessica Burgess, a crew chief with the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "We can't leave our jet for long periods to go to the dining facility, so it was nice to have hot food and cold drinks available to us right here, and not from an MRE package."
The SPEK is a unit that, once set up, is ready with its own power sources available. This provides services personnel with the tools they need to keep pre-cooked food rations warm and ready to serve. The 169th SVF has had this SPEK for less than a year and they realize how essential its mission is to the 169th Fighter Wing's mission.
During the June UTA, 169th SVF personnel at the APEK anticipated approximately 50 flight line personnel to go through their chow line in one day but came prepared for over 100. They were proud to have served a hot meal to 102 hard-working individuals.