Food service Marines prepare for exercises
CAMP KINSER, Okinawa, Japan -- Food service specialists with units throughout III Marine Expeditionary Force conducted field mess training here Nov. 16.
The Marines trained to practice the skills needed to support units training in a field environment.
"The purpose of the training was to prepare the Marines for upcoming exercises," said Chief Warrant Officer Martin L. Maschio, the food service officer in charge of food service support, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF.
During theater security cooperation exercises, Marines training throughout the Asia-Pacific Region with their military counterparts will need to be fed in field environments, according to Maschio. At many locations, there will be food service specialists making that happen.
"Every Marine at each location needs to be knowledgeable and ready to get the job done," said Maschio. "It's everybody's responsibility to have a good field mess and sanitation to ensure consistent, high-quality service."
During the training, Marines trained with the Babington airtronic burner. The burner is the main heat source for the tray ration heating system, the main system Marines use to cook the unitized group rations. The rations make up approximately 80 percent of the food they will be preparing and serving during exercises according to Gunnery Sgt. Wilfred Castillo, a food service instructor with operations group, G-4, supply and logistics, 3rd MLG.
"I used this time to teach the Marines the ins-and-outs of the burner," said Castillo. "This will enable them to go to the field with the proper knowledge, and if something goes down, they can get it right back up and running to accomplish their mission."
Castillo taught the Marines about the basic operational components of the burner: fuel, regular air, pressurized air and the ignition system.
"Some Marines are going to be by themselves without help from others and will be required to operate the burner in order to put out full meals," said Castillo.
The Marines were required to assemble and disassemble the burner during the training, which was a new skill for many of them.
"I had never broken down the burner and learned a lot from this experience," said Cpl. Davon U. Simmons, a food service specialist with Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF. "This was a chance to learn more about the gear. If the gear goes down, I am now confident enough to fix the problem and get it operating."
The training gave the Marines a complete understanding of what the burner does, leaving them ready to support Marines during exercises, according to Castillo.
"We train like this because, when we go to the field during an exercise, it's not time for us to train," said Castillo. "It's time for us to work."