Employees with Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence toured a field kitchen that Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers set up while staged at the Naval Support Activity Philadelphia compound in support of the Papal visit.
The National Guard soldiers stayed on the compound Sept. 24-28 in support of Pope Francis’ visit and the World Meeting of Families in Center City.
Rich Faso, customer operations director for Subsistence, coordinated with the 1st Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment for Subsistence employees to see soldiers prepare meals for their unit.
Over 50 Subsistence personnel visited the field kitchen Sept. 23 while soldiers prepared stuffed chicken breasts for dinner. Another smaller group saw breakfast being made the next morning.
The food service equipment set up on the fields in the south end of the base included a containerized kitchen, an assault kitchen and a sanitation tent.
“It was a perfect opportunity for our personnel to see their items in action, in a real-life environment,” Faso said.
For Tim Dlugokecki, the chief of the acquisition and analysis branch, it was his first time seeing a field kitchen in person. Dlugokecki was curious about how they could feed over 600 soldiers with just a small, mobile kitchen.
“I realized the coordination that they need to do to,” Dlugokecki said, “For example, getting up at 2 a.m. to start making pancakes, that way they will be ready to have enough to start serving at 6 a.m.”
As the chief of the rations and equipment technical branch, John King viewed the tour as an opportunity to see some of the equipment that his team supports. Those items included maintenance of the main burner units which heat the griddle, as well as water heating equipment for the sanitation tent.
Subsistence personnel were not the only ones who took away something from their tour. Sgt. Jimmy McGuire, a food service specialist who gave the tour, said he was surprised at how many people showed up to see their operation.
“Seeing the expression on their face (was the biggest take away) and going, ‘Wow that’s what that does. That’s how they use that item.’” McGuire said. “Now they know what that item is, where their items are going and what they are being used for.”
Other items Subsistence personnel had a chance to see included Tailored Operational Training Meals, Mermite boxes and boil-in-bag eggs.
“It was a great experience for the Subsistence workforce.” Faso said. “The National Guard was a gracious host.”