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Expeditionary kitchen gives Airmen training opportunity, provides food to service members

Staff Sgt. Angela Krepline, 115th Force Support Squadron services, prepares for lunch in the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 4, 2014. There were six Airmen from the 115th FSS who were in charge of providing two meals per day to approximately 100 people during the 10-day mission. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Staff Sgt. Angela Krepline, 115th Force Support Squadron services, prepares for lunch in the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 4, 2014. There were six Airmen from the 115th FSS who were in charge of providing two meals per day to approximately 100 people during the 10-day mission. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Food from a Unitized Group Ration is displayed in the Armory during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 4, 2014. Three UGR boxes contain enough food to feed 50 people. The 115th Force Support Squadron services Airmen used the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen they deployed with to cook the food each day. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Food from a Unitized Group Ration is displayed in the Armory during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 4, 2014. Three UGR boxes contain enough food to feed 50 people. The 115th Force Support Squadron services Airmen used the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen they deployed with to cook the food each day. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

The 115th Force Support Squadron services Airmen open boxes of food in preparation for lunch during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 4, 2014. The team of six brought down 11 pallets of Unitized Group Rations. Three boxes of UGRs contained enough food to feed 50 people. The Airmen fed approximately 100 people per day during the 10-day mission using the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen they brought down with them from Madison, Wis. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

The 115th Force Support Squadron services Airmen open boxes of food in preparation for lunch during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 4, 2014. The team of six brought down 11 pallets of Unitized Group Rations. Three boxes of UGRs contained enough food to feed 50 people. The Airmen fed approximately 100 people per day during the 10-day mission using the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen they brought down with them from Madison, Wis. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Food cooks in the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen using boiling water during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 4, 2014. The 115th Force Support Squadron services Airmen prepared food using the SPEK every day during the 10-day mission. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Food cooks in the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen using boiling water during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 4, 2014. The 115th Force Support Squadron services Airmen prepared food using the SPEK every day during the 10-day mission. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

ABBEVILLE, La. -- Cajun Care 2014 kicked off in Abbeville, La., on Feb. 25. Airmen and Sailors have been busy non-stop. Not only are they helping more than 100 patients a day with their medical, dental and optometry needs - but there are also more than 100 service members who need to be fed every day.

Ensuring there was enough food for all was a challenge six Airmen from the 115th Force Support Squadron were eager to accomplish.

"We were working 14-hour days in the beginning," said Senior Master Sgt. Richard Breister, 115th FSS sustainment services superintendent. "Now we're down to 12-hour days because we've adjusted according to the eating patterns we've observed."

Like the medics, the 115th FSS Airmen have also been able to use Cajun Care 2014 for training. They began their training by preparing the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen for use. The SPEK is a portable kitchen used for deployments. It folds up into a square, the length and width of a pallet, for easy transportation. Once unfolded, it has enough space inside for a sink, cooking area and storage shelves.

"We've trained with SPEKs before, but this is the first time we've used this particular one during an operation, for consecutive days," Breister said.

Once the SPEK was operational, the team organized the 11 pallets of food they brought with them to Louisiana.

"While going through the pallets of food, we prepared a daily menu," said Staff Sgt. Angela Krepline, 115th FSS services. "This way everyone can see what their daily options are."

Even though some people have chosen to eat at local restaurants, they have not been given a daily food allowance to do so. This detail alone has saved money for each unit.

"We hope this TDY will help them see the value in sending our Airmen on deployments with the SPEK kitchen," Breister said. "It saves money and guarantees we can provide meals for 300 at any deployed location, all because we've received the training to do so - while helping Louisiana residents with their medical care at the same time."
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