Joint Culinary Center of Excellence offers new additions to field ration menus
November 1, 2012
By Amy Perry
FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 1, 2012) -- The Unitized Group Ration -- Short Order menu recently underwent changes after a six-month test at four Army installations last year.
The UGR is for use in deployed locations or during remote training exercises. The new menu allows commanders and food advisers to offer additional choices to Soldiers out in the field, said Beverly Hamlette, Joint Culinary Center of Excellence field feeding specialist.
Previously, field ration meals included casserole or meat-based entrees such as meat loaf, baked chicken, or spaghetti and meatballs. The new short order option is similar those found in dining facilities and has never been offered for the field environment.
"The new menus were developed by our partners at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, and they have worked very hard to ensure these menus are built to provide the right nutrition for our Soldiers," said Hamlette. "This concept was designed in efforts to continue to provide the Army diner more variety, alternative meat options and mixed menu items, thus providing both mainline and short order options in a field/deployed environment."
The new short order items available are the Philly steak hoagie, chicken nuggets, Italian sausage sub, beef enchiladas, chicken wings, pepperoni Stromboli, and hamburgers or hot dogs.
Commanders and food advisers are able to decide which percentage ratio to order from the main line and the short order center plate items to feed their troops, said Hamlette.
"Soldiers have always opted for more variety, improvements and options within the Operational Ration Program," said Hamlette. "These new menus will provide just that. This will give the diner a choice of a mainline entrée or a short order type entrée. Comments from the field indicate a great demand to have a non-pork protein choice on the menu. Short order could provide that alternative; if the mainline meal is pork loin or pork ribs, the food service sergeant could pair this meal with a non-pork short order to provide more choices."
The updated menu was supposed to become available in 2010, but it was not actually available until May 2012, and many aren't aware that these choices exist, said Hamlette.
"Commanders and food advisers are authorized to provide mainline and short order options at each dinner meal while field feeding," she said. "I don't think they are aware there were menu changes."
The UGR-Short Order menu changes or improvements program will be conducted under the Fielded Group Ration Improvement Program through Natick and is scheduled for field testing in August 2013.
Feedback is valuable in providing the right menu items for Soldiers. For recommendations or suggestions, use the Operational Ration Quality Feedback Form (DA Form 7590) to submit all comments. It is located on the JCCoE website at www.quartermaster.army.mil/jccoe/Operations_Directorate/QUAD/QUAD_main.html.
For more details, contact Hamlette at email@example.com or (804) 734-4584.