Story by Courtney Pollock
Naval Station Rota, Spain
Fleet Readiness at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota knows all about helping gather people around the table to feed their community! Striving to improve the quality-of-life for NAVSTA Rota community, plate after plate was dished out during 2022. Last year Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s (MWR) new food and beverage location, El Patio was highlighted; this year, NAVSTA Rota’s award-winning Gateway Galley and its services.
Receiving a five star accreditation for the fifth year in a row, the NAVSTA galley served 624,573 meals to permanently assigned and transient active duty military personnel around the installation including service members from the Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Army. The galley also supported deployable naval forces such as Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) and its approximately 400 personnel as well as military joint exercises and urgent feeding requirements.
The galley team ensures that customer service standards and the accountability for inventory, cash handling and general operations do not deteriorate, regardless of the fiscally challenged environment. Their goal is to provide a more quality plant-based foods menu for better health of each warfighter.
NAVSTA Galley’s objective is sustaining a lethal warfighting force which begins with providing meals that meet nutritional requirements based on physical and mental job performance requirements. The galley fills an integral role by ensuring that the nutritional needs of the warfighter are achieved.
For the first time since NAVSTA Rota and the Kingdom of Spain entered lockdown due to the global pandemic in 2020, the galley was able to expand its services entering a “post-COVID” period which included Special meals and Sunday Brunch again.
“The business of feeding our armed forces and their families is the most amazing business in the world,” stated Nolly Dizon, food service officer for NAVSTA Rota. “We have expanded our freshly made salad bar and healthy bread bar to include grab-and-go options during all meals. We ensure the to-go meals meet our required nutritional standard and complies with our Go for Green program.”
Embracing the full capabilities of technology, the galley changed their payment system from cash to a cashless system on March 14 to ease the process and quality experience for all galley patrons. The cashless operation is doing great and received numerous compliments as a more efficient and safe way of conducting daily operations.
In support for the Rota community, the galley flexed operations to support over 500 military and civilians associated with joint special operations center in March and April. The galley also provided provisions to afloat units to fill urgent food requirements on short notice in support of unfortunate worldwide events.
The team didn’t just support the community here in Southern Spain, but throughout the region. Culinary Specialist 1st Class Abigail Sebastian was sent temporary duty to Naval Support Facility Poland to serve as food service officer. She was able to provide sustained, robust training to their food service team enhancing food production efforts and administrative functions of the newly established galley.
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