2 FSS Food for Thought

By Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Napoleon Bonaparte once said "An army marches on its stomach," as an example of how important it is to have a well-fed unit. Over time, many things have changed in the Air Force, but one factor remains constant. Airmen need to eat.

At Barksdale, the 2nd Force Support Squadron's Sustainment Flight has several Airmen in Food Operations Services dedicated to feeding their fellow Airmen.

"Our outstanding Airmen work very hard to provide the base meals every day," said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Sergot, Food Operations superintendent. "It's a very selfless job and we don't ask for much. If our customers are satisfied with their meals, it's like a pat on our backs."

To feed Barksdale's growing team of Airmen, civilians, retirees and dependents, the 2 FSS's Food Operations have several facilities which serve Team Barksdale: the Red River Dining Facility, Touch-and-Go Flight Kitchen and both Barksdale Clubs.

"The dining facility is very convenient, it's close to the dorms so you can just walk over and get some food," said Senior Airman Daniel Riddlespriger, 2nd Bomb Wing Judge Advocate Office general law paralegal. "I don't have to worry about bringing money either, they just scan my identification card and everything is taken care of."

According to Sergot, the dining facility offers healthy food to help Airmen stay physically fit, healthy for deployments and physical fitness tests.

"We offer healthy food so our Airmen can maintain their fit-to-fight warrior mentality," he said.

Not only does the dining facility offer healthy food, it's affordable for all ranks.

"Cost wise, you would be hard pressed to find a full meal under five bucks, it's more economical to eat here," said Master Sgt. Daniel Absolom, 2 FSS Food Operations section chief.

To keep the flying mission going, Airmen and aircrews on the flightline may not be able to visit the Red River Dining Facility or either of the clubs. However, they do have another option when it comes to dining.

"Most of the time Airmen on the flightline can't leave the area because they have to stay close to the aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Richard Cunningham, 2 FSS Touch-and-Go Flight Kitchen NCO in charge. "The flight kitchen provides a nice spot where they can eat and relax. We also provide box meals for aircrew so they have something to eat while they are on their missions."

Even at the flight kitchen, Airmen have healthy options to choose from.

"We have the stigma of offering just burgers and fries but we offer healthy helpings," said Cunningham. "We offer a different variety of salads, chicken wraps and grilled chicken sandwiches for Airmen to choose from."

While the flight kitchen is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the team still provides food for Airmen in between meals.

"The flight kitchen is non-stop, from the time we open the doors to the time we close, we are constantly busy," he said. "After dinner, Sunday through Thursday, we close but we still provide our box meal service after hours. That way our night shift Airmen can come and get a meal."

Making meals for the rest of the base at the dining facility is no cake walk either according to Absolom.

"The dining facility is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said. "From the main breakfast shift, our Airmen are constantly cooking and some Airmen actually get on the line and serve the meals. While some of the Airmen are serving breakfast, other Airmen start preparing for lunch. It's a constant cycle."

Downtime is seldom, but when Airmen in Food Operations get it, they use it to their advantage.

"It's really rare to get a good amount of downtime, so during those periods we try to get as much training in as possible," said Absolom. "We don't get holidays off like other base agencies. Thanksgiving is coming up and we are going to be working all week to make sure the Airmen have a great meal."

Not only does the dining facility offer Thanksgiving meals for Airmen, they also offer Christmas and quarterly birthday dinners to bring Airmen together.

According to Sergot, Airmen have the unique opportunity to be served by Team Barksdale leadership during special dinners.

"We do these dinners to appreciate them for being the outstanding Airmen they are," he said. "However, in addition to our Airmen we have a lot of retirees and veterans which makes it an extra special day because we all get to interact with each other."

With the upcoming holidays, Food Operations Airmen will be very busy.

"We are constantly working so we have to substitute holidays and try to fill it in somewhere else during the week for down time," said Absolom. "The mission has to come first because we have to make sure the base populace gets fed."