Kentucky Airmen use sleek mobile kitchen to serve up hot meals during Tennessee medical mission

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Carlos Claudio
  • 192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
At first glance, the trailer looks like any other mobile transport you see on the highway. But upon closer inspection, the vehicle takes on a different appearance with professional graphics, high-tech lighting and exhaust pipes protruding from the top.

"It's a Disaster Response Mobile Kitchen Trailer (DRMKT)," explained Master Sgt. Krista Lindsey, non-commissioned officer in charge of Services at the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Airlift Wing in Louisville, Ky. "Its purpose is to provide meals in a disaster response situation for all personnel, whether it's a state or a federal mission."

The trailer was used recently at Martin Middle School here in support of the Hope of Martin community outreach project, an Air National Guard-led initiative providing medical care during an Innovative Readiness Training mission.

The 123rd sent a four-person team while the Tennessee Air Guard's 134th Air Refueling Wing in Knoxville, Tenn., deployed a six-person team led by Tech. Sgt. Jacob Daniels. Both teams shared cooking duties while supporting the IRT mission.

"The advantages of this trailer are that it is mobile, portable and has safer, enclosed burners for cooking," Lindsey said.

Once the DRMKT is filled with 50 gallons of water for cooking and cleaning, it is completely self-sufficient, even generating its own electricity via a built-in generator.

The trailer houses two fuel tanks. The first tank is for burners and accepts diesel, kerosene and JP-8 fuels. The second tank is for the generator and only accepts diesel fuel. The entire vehicle can be loaded into a C-130 Hercules transport plane for delivery anywhere to support a disaster or mission like Hope of Martin.

The mobile kitchen is equipped to serve a large number of people -- 2,000 people per meal or 6,000 people per day -- that's double that amount of regular field kitchens. It's also designed for fast set-up and teardown, which enables the DRMKT to serve at multiple sites in a single day if needed. According to Lindsey, set up time with an experienced crew is approximately 40 minutes.

The DRMKT was first tested in January at the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., where the 123rd served 350 hot meals three times a day to military security teams, plus a midnight meal.

"There were no major issues," said Senior Airman Dwight Trowell, who worked the inauguration.

The DRMKT can cook meals en route to a location, but safety and distance logistics need to be worked out.

It also comes equipped with a very handy resource built into the wall: "The trailer computer is a great tool that serves as a mini learning center," Lindsey said. "Services personnel can read Word documents, recipes, watch cooking videos and read equipment manuals simply by using the touch screen."

The computer also saves space in the vehicle by eliminating the need to carry recipe-card boxes or cooking books, and it allows each unit to customize menus for specific missions.

A convenient tab on the computer lets personnel to view accumulated "gray water" (dirty water), generator wattage and outside and inside temperatures.

The IRT program is designed to train U.S. military medical personnel and provide assistance to underserved communities. The IRT mission to Tennessee assisted more than 3,000 patients, performed more than 8,000 procedures and provided more than 1,200 eyeglasses for a total value of $600,000 worth of services to the Martin community.