SAN ANTONIO, TX, UNITED STATES
UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, Middle East – The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is leading the $2.5 million construction of a new dining facility to streamline mealtime for U.S. and coalition forces at an allied base in the Middle East.
The 11,840-square-foot building, expected to be completed by May, will serve as the main DFAC and replace the smaller existing facility. The larger facility will allow meals to be served faster, giving back time for forces to focus on their primary missions.
“Resilient infrastructure is critical to assure combat readiness and lethality,” said Col. Dave Norton, director of AFCEC’s Facility Engineering Directorate. “AFCEC continuously partners with other stakeholders to deliver mission-ready facilities equipped with capabilities required to fight and win globally.
“It is vital for each installation to have right-sized infrastructure because it enhances mission efficiency, safety of Airmen and the quality of their lives,” Norton said.
Partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District, U.S. Air Forces Central Command and the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group, AFCEC is providing overall management of design and construction, ensuring the new facility is delivered on time and within budget.
“The base was in need of better meal serving capabilities due to a large number of troops at this location,” said Kevin McKinney, AFCEC’s project manager for contingency construction. “The project will ensure deployed troops are fueled to fight and in high spirits.”
Located in a new life support area, the building will serve meals for personnel that live and work within that part of the base.
“The current DFAC, located on the other side of the base, is not keeping pace with operations,” McKinney said.
It was designed for periodic exercises, with seating capacity for only 50, he added.
The new high-performance DFAC will seat 240 personnel at a time and have capacity to dish out 1,500 meals each meal period. Along with U.S. service members, it will support coalition forces living in the area.
“This project is a durable, safe and functional construction that offers the highest level of protection and food service in a contingency environment,” McKinney said, with exterior walls designed to shield from outside explosion effects and meet command force protection requirements.
When not being used in a dining capacity, the DFAC can serve as a gathering space.
Construction began in September 2018 and is being executed by the 557th Expeditionary Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE). The unit is a key component of contingency and special operations worldwide.
“The DFAC was designed to be an off the shelf facility that could be constructed at other deployed locations using Air Force troop labor,” McKinney said.
The 557th is a self-sustaining, mobile, heavy construction squadron equipped to perform in remote or high-threat environments worldwide, McKinney added.
“We provide the CENTCOM commander the ability to put construction force where needed in theater to support emerging missions. RED HORSE is capable of operating in expeditionary environments as well as established forward operating bases,” said Maj. Scott Harman, 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron officer in charge.
In addition to building the DFAC, RED HORSE is involved in other facilities being constructed at the base.