Friday, November 10, 2006

New Marine Corps Food Service Company Poised for Proficiency

By Lance Cpl. W. Zach Griffith, MCB Camp Butler

CAMP KINSER, CAMP BUTLER, OKINAWA, Japan (Oct. 13, 2006) -- 3rd Marine Logistics Group's Headquarters and Service Battalion activated a new company Sept. 28 in a ceremony at Robert's Field on Camp Kinser. Food Service Company, H & S Bn., 3rd MLG, is the result of a Marine Corps-wide effort to consolidate food service support.

All assets from 3rd MLG were consolidated to provide easier food support to the MLG and III Marine Expeditionary Force, according to Capt. Gary Spinelli, the commanding officer of the new company.

"With this consolidation, we can ensure the right number of personnel and equipment go to each unit," Spinelli said. "We can support (III MEF) better this way."

Before the consolidation, it was up to individual units to procure their own food support Marines and equipment, according to Spinelli. Now, all they have to do is contact the new unit.

There shouldn't be any problems getting used to the process, as the consolidation process has already happened in the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions, Spinelli continued.

In addition to the re-organization, the 133 Marines of the company now have capabilities to field the new Food Service Support System.

The new system is like a portable galley, said Cpl. Scott Turek, a field mess noncommissioned officer for Food Services Company. The galley has the capability to serve over 1,700 quality meals per day, not just "exaggerated versions of Meals Ready to Eat," he said.

"Everything they have in the chow halls on base, we have in here," he said, referring to the stainless-steel interior. "This means we can cook a wider variety of food for the troops when we are on deployment. A wider variety means we get the benefit of more vitamins and such, rather than pure calories from the MREs."

Apart from being healthy, a wider variety of food in the field will keep Marines happier, said Lance Cpl. Timothy Graveline, a field mess specialist for the company.

"It'll taste at least a little more home-cooked than the tray meals that are usually served in the field," he said. "Decent food can help us take our minds off the stresses of being down range."

Another benefit is being able to keep the portable galley clean and sanitized, Turek said. Field mess halls are usually constructed out of wood, which is time consuming to construct, and even harder to keep clean.

"I wish we had these in Pakistan," Turek said, referencing his time participating in a humanitarian aid mission following the 2005 earthquake. "We had locals build us wooden permanent facilities that were very hard to keep thoroughly clean."

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