By Staff Sgt. Kelly S Malone (Leonard Wood)September 10, 2015
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Sept. 10, 2015) -- Feeding nearly 10,000 people daily and managing food orders totaling $40 million annually is a feat beyond comprehension for most, but for the employees and contractors supporting the Fort Leonard Wood food program, it's their mission.
Bill Moffitt, installation food program manager and contracting officer representative, with more than 33 years of experience, is responsible for the team who feeds service members here for their military training.
"Food service is extremely significant. This food program touches lives of thousands of people daily from all branches of service and walks of life," said Moffitt. "It is vital to many missions taking place, and the health and morale of each individual."
Soldiers, Marines, Air Force, Navy, retirees and Department of Defense civilian employees all patron the different dining facilities around the installation, creating a great need for constant deliveries.
Deliveries happen several times a week from U.S. Foods, the primary vendor, Moffitt said.
"U.S. Foods provides approximately $23 million of the total dollars," said Shaun Welsh, director of National Sales & Healthcare U.S. Foods.
Welsh said the 10 facilities at Fort Leonard Wood, on average, receive daily deliveries consisting of 445 cases of food per facility.
"Using the numbers from 2015 so far, that is 1,560 deliveries at 4,450 cases per delivery day totaling 694,200 cases per year," Welsh said.
"This means we ship approximately 22,214,400 pounds of food to Fort Leonard Wood each year," he said.
Moffitt has a team to support the food program with many being the cooks to prepare and serve all of the food.
"We have 780 cooks . . . in the 10 dining facilities," said Clinton Johnson, subsistence supply management, Logistics Readiness Center.
Now working at the recently built Dining Facility 908, cook Aura Tweedy has been serving Soldiers for more than three decades.
"I enjoy working with the Soldiers and have been doing it for 32 years," Tweedy said.
Tweedy enjoys making a service member's day by putting a smile on their face.
A lot of food is sent, received and prepared to feed everyone which doesn't include Meals-Ready-To-Eat, fresh produce or non-food items, which U.S. Foods is not contracted to provide.
The MREs provided to Soldiers in training at Fort Leonard Wood totals about 912,000 a year says Moffitt.
MREs are often used when troops are not near a DFAC and leave the main cantonment area for field operations.
"Eating in a DFAC is so much more comforting than eating an MRE," said Pvt. Larry Jepson, an Advanced Individual Training, or AIT Soldier with Company A, 787th Military Police Battalion, 14th Military Police Brigade.
Many of the nearly 25,000 meals served daily are for troops in training units.
"A lot of people don't get to sit down and eat at a table everyday. Before I came in the service I would eat once a day. Now I get three good meals a day . . . it's energy and it keeps me going," said Pvt. Ashley Miles, also in AIT at Co. A, 787th MP Bn., 14th MP Bde., while eating lunch with Jepson at DFAC 908.
Whether it is a prepared meal or an MRE, most of us don't stop long to consider that having three meals a day may be new for some, Miles said.
There are many folks on and off the installation who make it their business to ensure the troops in training, as well as others on the installation, eat well, according to the food program manager.
"Knowing a meal can affect the outcome of each individual's day, causes us to take our mission seriously," Moffitt said.