FORT SILL, Oklahoma (July 16, 2020) -- “I Strike” battalion Soldiers who returned to Fort Sill in late June from their year-long deployment to the Middle East were immediately confined to their barracks under the installation’s precautionary COVID-19 14-day quarantine policy.But, thanks to their fellow 4th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery Soldiers assigned to the unit’s rear detachment, they didn’t forfeit any of their daily hot meal service.Teams of five to seven 4-3rd ADA rear detachment Soldiers rotated through the quarantine period, with each team in turn providing its 225 charges a full day’s complement of three hot meals. Individual teams consisted of a noncommissioned officer and four to six enlisted troops.Daily, these rear detachment teams ensured the 197 single 4-3rd ADA Soldiers in Building 914 and the 28 personnel in Building 3429 (married Soldiers who had not yet been assigned their on-post quarters) received three hot meals plus an assortment of beverages, condiments, fresh fruit, and baked desserts.No small logistical undertaking this, given that feeding 225 people three hot meals a day for 14 days totals 9,450 meals - with nary a Meal, Ready-to-Eat in sight.Word of the delivery of thousands of scheduled hot meals had leaked to the redeploying single Soldiers.“I understand that our rear detachment will be bringing us ‘three hots’ a day so that we won’t have MREs all the time,” said a grateful Spc. Grace Kienzle, E Company orderly room clerk, moments after arriving at her barracks room from the airport.The rear detachment’s dinner meal service team July 9 was led by Sgt. Caleb Tripp, and also consisted of Spc. Jonatan Pinones, Spc. Isaak Gonzales, Spc. Justin Burgess, and Spc. Brenton Wiltse.Before the team members could portion out food into individual meal containers for the hungry troops, they first had to pick up some 17 to 18 “mermites” (those 6-inch-deep insulated food pan containers) of prepared food (along with complements of sliced bread, milk, juices, assorted condiments, fruit, and desserts) from the Guns and Rockets Dining Facility, load up their van, and transport everything to the single Soldier barracks.Once at Building 914, team members unloaded the van and toted its contents up a flight of stairs, over and into the charge of quarters (CQ) office space, where the containers were sorted in a sequence which expedited food service.Food-handling team members donned gloves and, in assembly line fashion, dished up hearty portions of everything.On this particular day, the two dinner entrees were baked chicken and meat loaf. Prepared meals might see two, if not three, pieces of chicken placed inside the meal container. Two slabs of thick-sliced meat loaf were nestled in other meal containers.Heaping helpings of rice, green peas or sliced carrots, and scalloped potatoes rounded out each of this day’s dinner meal containers.Full dinner meal containers were packed 24 to a lined transport box and taken to the central area of each of the building’s four wings, Alpha through Delta.Resident Soldiers were given a narrow window of opportunity to pick up their meals and beverages, before the rear detachment team returned from its mirror duties for occupants of Building 3429, whereby - in order to prevent food poisoning or other foodborne illness - they disposed of any leftover food.Having already policed the CQ area with the assistance of 4-3rd ADA CQ personnel and other Soldiers from 31st ADA Brigade headquarters, the rear detachment team returned empty “mermites” and used kitchen serving ware to Guns and Rockets for cleaning, before returning to Building 3429 to dispose of any leftover food there.This procedural round robin circuit is followed three times each day - for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.Overseeing the entire operation are the battalion’s Rear Detachment Commander, Capt. Seth Cole, and his 1st Platoon Platoon Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Jon Masropian.Cole, an Adjutant General Corps officer who assumed command May 13, 2020 and who is scheduled to take the reigns of 4-3rd ADA’s personnel shop around September, referenced the social media firestorm that had ensued immediately following the Middle East redeployments of Soldiers at Forts Bliss and Bragg in March of this year, and their initial messing situation upon being quarantined.Multiple stories picked up and published by the Associated Press, along with social media photographs of foam trays sporting scant dollops of peas and rice - and nothing else - raised both concerns and the ire of Soldiers and their families, as well as of senior Army and Pentagon-level leadership. Corrective actions at those installations were swift.“We didn’t want that kind of ‘horror story’ experience for these Soldiers,” Cole said.He was quick to credit 75th Field Artillery “Diamond” Brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Regiment with having shared their quarantined Soldiers feeding plan with 4-3rd ADA.“They redeployed two to three months before us. We took their plan and improved on it,” tailoring it to the needs of the “I Strike” battalion, he said.“While we were certainly aware of those (Forts Bliss and Bragg) social media postings,” said Sgt. Paulina Landers, Guns and Rockets Dining Facility administrative NCO, “none of that affected us in the preparation of the meals” for Fort Sill’s quarantined 4-3rd ADA Soldiers.“We always take pride in what we cook,” Landers said.These particular meals’ menus, it should be noted, the ones for quarantined Soldiers, differ from field rations that Guns and Rockets mermites out to Soldiers in training here. Field rations must follow prescribed menus, without deviation.Rations for quarantined Soldiers proved another story, however, and Landers is credited for crafting several unique menus toward that end.Landers admitted to seeking to prepare foods for others that she would savor were she quarantined and therefore severely limited to dining options.Purposely striving to enhance the flavors of meals for Soldiers who had returned from a combat zone, only to be quarantined for two weeks, and accepting constructive input offered by Sgt. First Class Shaunta Cain, dining facility manager, Landers incorporated different seasoning combinations wherever she could.Feeding the unit’s quarantined Soldiers three hot meals daily has demonstratively proven “a good thing,” said Masropian. “Not only is the food quality always fresh, but the single Soldiers don’t have to leave their (residential) Wing to go eat. The dining facility comes to them.”The battalion’s rear detachment Soldiers have proven themselves assets to their redeploying unit by manning a number of processing stations within Hangar 5 at the Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport.Unit Soldiers arriving home from one Middle East country June 28, and those from another June 29, were expeditiously checked in after showing their identification cards, before undergoing body temperature checks, obtaining barracks room assignments and signing for their keys, signing for their vehicle keys, and opting to pick up an MRE to tide them over until their first hot meal.