Services deploys with field kitchen for Hurricane Maria recovery

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Seven Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Services Flight arrived in Puerto Rico Oct. 11 to assist with hurricane relief efforts by cooking meals for Soldiers from the Puerto Rico National Guard.

The Kentucky Air Guardsmen, joined by eight Airmen from the Tennessee Air Guard’s 134th Refueling Wing, deployed with a Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen Trailer, which gives them the ability to serve up to 4,000 hot meals per day, said Master Sgt. Aaron Foote, base services specialist and unit deployment manager for the 123rd Force Support Squadron.

“There are 17 of those trailers across the country, and we have one of them,” Foote said. “We also took two pallets of additional accessories. These guys are doing something really phenomenal down there.”

The Airmen will be serving Unitized Group Rations, a meal designed to maximize the use of commercial items and to simplify the process of providing high-quality food service in a field environment. All the components for a complete 50-person meal are included in the UGR.

According to Lt. Col. Kevin Krauss, commander of the 123rd Force Support Squadron, the deployment marks the first mass deployment of the DRMKT as a proof-of-concept for the National Guard Bureau.

“The mobilization went extremely smoothly,” Krauss said. “Everybody jumped in to help. They came in on weekends and holidays to get it done.

“The relationships we’ve built over training and during exercises with the units who are close to us bore fruit. We were able to pick up the phone and call some other units and they lent the additional manpower. That’s pretty awesome to see.”

Krauss noted that the Airmen face some challenges in Puerto Rico, which is struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria, but their performance has been exceptional.

“They’re down there without power, not exactly certain where they’re going to sleep,” Krauss said. “But they’ve been very professional, which is not a surprise. It’s been awesome to watch.”