CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, JAPAN
Story by Lance Cpl. Zachary Larsen
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan — U.S. Marines and employees with the Camp Foster Mess Hall 488 prepare to-go chow for Marines on restricted of movement at Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, July 9.
In response to COVID-19, all Marines and families arriving to Okinawa are placed in a 14 day ROM cycle. They cannot leave their room for the duration of days as a preventative measure to contain the spread of the virus.
“We are preparing to-go meals in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Gunnery Sgt. Shakelia Woods, acting officer in charge, with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installation Pacific Mess Hall 488.
Marines are still able to come in to the dining hall, sit down, and eat. However, they must take precautionary measures. The Marines may only sit two to a table; they must sanitize their hands, and maintain a social distance of 6 feet. More strict Health Protection Condition call for to-go chow only.
“We want Marines to dine in and not worry about the risk of spreading the virus.” said Woods.
Marines with Mess Hall 488 are tasked every day to prepare food for the hundreds of ROM Marines. The Marines wake up at 4:30 am to make over 100 to-go meals. The food is then picked up by the Marine’s sponsor or unit and transported to the ROM Marine.
“It is important to make this food because the ROM Marines don’t have another source of consistent food,” said Cpl. Dalton Miller, the assistant chief cook, with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installation Pacific Mess Hall 488.
According to Miller, proper hygiene has always been important in food preparation. It is now more important than ever to maintain proper hygiene.
“We have always prioritized the safety of the food, however with the new safety restrictions, we have implemented a higher level of safety precautions,” said Miller. “Now, we wrap our bread, serve salad to Marines, and changes out utensils every 15 minutes, we also wear gloves around the clock, wash our hands after every glove use and the condiments are not on tables.”
The mess hall does not stop; they have adapted to the new COVID-19 guidelines and worked even harder to get ROM Marines fed. The Marines in the mess hall work diligently to provide nutritious food to the Marines of Okinawa.
“My Marines are doing an awesome job,” said Woods. “They work around the clock to ensure that these meals get to the ROM Marines. All of the personnel here are working hard to support the ROM Marines and the ones coming through the doors.”
For more information about COVID-19 visit https://www.iiimef.marines.mil/Coronavirus/ or