Services personnel train in the great outdoors
By Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson, 120th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
/ Published September 01, 2016
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Members of the 120th Sustainment Services Flight received much of their formal training outside during the three-day drill held on base Aug. 6-8, 2016 at the 120th Airlift Wing.
The services professionals cooked meals using their new Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen Trailer (DRMKT), constructed Alaska Small Shelter Systems and were certified in fork lift operation.
The opportunity to work with these systems during the drill provided services personnel the experience necessary should they be required to operate the equipment in a deployed environment.
The 120th Sustainment Services Flight superintendent said the outdoor training offered during the drill was a planned third step in preparing his personnel to feed a large number of Airmen using the DRMKT. Previous training sessions had gradually increased the proficiency of using the equipment.
"We first cooked for 30 people a while ago, then one hundred people for a few days and we served almost 400 people this guard drill off of the DRMKT," said Chief Master Sgt. Martin Leonard. "This can be used nationwide or statewide in disasters if we were called upon to serve the citizens of the United States."
Leonard said four active-duty services members assigned to the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base joined 10 guardsmen to train on the deployable culinary equipment.
"Everybody got a chance to cook, serve and clean," Leonard said. "The whole nine yards."
Leonard said shelter construction was part of the home station training his personnel participate in each year. He said he often places younger Airmen in charge of building the structures to provide them command and control experience.
120th SSF Management and Program Assistant Master Sgt. Troy Anderson said the positive attitude and teamwork exhibited by the services personnel made for the rapid completion of the construction task.
"We had that tent set up completely and tore back down and put back into the box within two and a half hours," Anderson said. "It was really quick and we really enjoyed that part."
Services personnel also learned how to drive and operate a fork lift during the weekend training. Classroom instruction was followed by each student taking a turn driving a forklift on an outdoor course which included lifting and positioning pallets of materials. Once the training was successfully completed the Airmen were certified and forklift operation was listed as a skill on their military driver's licenses.
"It's really good training because it's hands-on," Leonard said. "When we deploy often the Airmen will have to bring food items from the warehouse such as water or MREs (meals ready to eat), offload or unload trucks-you name it."
Anderson appreciated the comments he received from wing members who enjoyed the meal prepared and served during the drill from the outdoor mobile kitchen.
"There was a lot of positive feedback and we received a lot of cooperation from the whole base-especially with cooking from the trailer," Anderson said. "People really understood that it was a training opportunity for us and there were no complaints, everybody was very positive and very encouraging and that really helped us a lot."