Coyotes get a taste of deployment
By Staff Sgt Emily Alley, 190th Public Affairs
/ Published March 05, 2009
FORBES FIELD ANGB, Topeka, Kan. --
Unit members got a taste of deployment in February; Services spent Sunday of the February UTA training and cooking outdoors.
Unit members were served a lunch of chicken, potatoes and corn from the counter of a tent-like kitchen.
The new kitchen, known as a Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen (SPEK) is a highly mobile, temporary kitchen for use in remote and undeveloped areas. Meals can be prepared within an hour and up to 315 personnel can be served within a meal period.
The entire kitchen can be set up by a minimum of 12 personnel in less than 2 hours.
TSgt. John Williams, Services Flight Readiness NCO, says the SPEK arrived about a week before February training and is larger than most of the staff expected. It was so new the freshly painted doors were sealed shut.
"We had to shoulder them open," he recalled.
Prior to the SPEK Services served meals in the field from a Mobile Kitchen Trailer (MKT), which was first used in Vietnam.
Now, both the kitchen unit and equipment are new. A staff of three can quickly and safely prepare food for an entire unit. Williams is pleased with the easy cleanup and extra space the modern equipment provides.
Cooking in the portable kitchen is fire-free. A large diesel powered boiler heats water, where packaged food can be heated. The cooking method can be compared to an MRE. SrA Brooke Cessna, a traditional cook, stresses the food is better than an MRE because it's fresher, although the cooking process is the same.
"We can really cook anything," she added.
Cans of vegetables or soup could be boiled for a meal, although traditional cooking options are mostly unavailable. For instance, chicken could be baked or steamed, but not fried.
Cessna said she felt more prepared for deployment after the training.