647th Force Support Squadron fuels RIMPAC personnel
By Maj. Joe Blubaugh , 15th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 28, 2014
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The ramp at Joint Base Hickam has been noticeably busy throughout RIMPAC 2014. While it takes a lot of extra fuel to keep the aircraft flying throughout the exercise, it also takes a lot of extra effort to make sure all the personnel supporting those aircraft get the fuel they need. That's the job of the 647th Force Support Squadron.
Responsible for both the Hale Aina Dining Facility and the Mokulele Flight Kitchen, the squadron has seen their ops tempo nearly double during the exercise. Through the two facilities, the squadron normally serves approximately 1,000 meals during a normal week, a number that has doubled during the month long exercise. All those extra meals mean a lot more time in the kitchen for the staff at each facility.
"The managers of each facility have had to balance their force to accomplish the mission," said MSgt Bud Wendel, Section Chief of Food Service.
That force is made up of a civilian contract team, 647th FSS military members and several members of the Hawaii Air National Guard.
Tech. Sgt. LaTonya Robinson, Dining Facility Manager at the Hale Aina says staffing her facility was the biggest challenge. "I had to push people a little harder, but everybody has maintained a positive attitude and understood the mission comes first."
It was a different challenge at the flight kitchen, says Staff Sgt. Leticia Anderson, the facility's storeroom manager. The flight kitchen is responsible for providing meals for aircrews, duty passengers and space available passengers, as well as for the flight line workers who pick up lunch when they don't have time to leave their positions.
"Our biggest challenge is the uncertainty of how many people we will be serving day-to-day. It fluctuates drastically," said Anderson, who estimates the kitchen is serving approximately twice the number of meals as normal.
"We know we have a mission that needs to get done and we push through it," said Anderson. "It can make for a long day, but we have the satisfaction of knowing the mission is getting accomplished."
Maj. Chris Hauver, 647th FSS Commander, says the exercise is a great tool for him as it stresses the system and provides outstanding training, all while showcasing his staff's ability to surge to accomplish the mission.
"No exercise happens without awesome support," says Hauver. "Through nutritious meals and excellent customer service, our food service team has fueled RIMPAC."