SOUTHWEST ASIA --
The two dining facilities at the busiest aerial port in the area of operations serves over 200,000 meals a month.
Even though the rations team at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia doesn’t prepare or cook the food, they ensure it is where it needs to be for those hungry service members and civilians.
The 386th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron rations team, which consists of six Airmen, unload up to 10 food trucks every week, as well as unload and deliver six truckloads of bottled water.
“Rations isn’t really a thing back home,” said Staff Sgt. Colin Poss, 386th EFSS warehouse specialist from Sioux City, Iowa. “I work in the kitchen back home, but it’s nothing to this scale.”
The average day for the rations team starts with escorting the trucks on base, then, with the help of other country nationals, they unload and organize the food and water into the warehouse.
They are also responsible for delivering the bottled water to 80 plus water sheds around the installation.
The team has changed the water delivery process since they have been here by using our flatbed trucks, said Poss. They utilize the trucks and are able to deliver six pallets on one trip rather than two.
Master Sgt. Troy Martin, 386th EFSS rations non-commissioned officer in charge, has touched almost all aspects of the food industry in his life; from working on a 6,500 acre farm, to driving a delivery truck, all the way to managing the rations warehouse here.
“I’ve been a part of everything from food to table basically,” said Martin. “I enjoy the farming and the cooking the best, but running the warehouse gives me a different perspective.”
Both Martin and Poss are from the 185th Air Refueling Wing, Iowa Air National Guard in Sioux City. Each of them brings a different skill set to the mission.
As this isn’t his normal day-to-day job, Poss brought knowledge from his civilian job as a warehouse manager that enhances safety on base. The simple and inexpensive tool, called a Glad Hand Lock, enables the team to safely unload the trucks into the warehouse without the risk of the truck rolling or someone driving away in the middle of a delivery.
“It is a small aluminum piece that locks the air brakes so the truck doesn’t move until we want it to,” said Poss.
Moving food and water is critical at this location with so many service members and civilians moving through the base, especially as the temperatures rise. Without the rations team, water would not be conveniently dispersed and food wouldn’t not be as accessible at the dining facilities.
“All of the stuff that happens around rations, the stuff we get credit for,” said Martin. “If it wasn’t for the team I have, we couldn’t do any of it.”