Employees supporting the Fort McCoy Logistics Readiness Center (LRC) Food Program Management Office and LRC Supply Subsistence Management Office as well as other partners completed one of the largest food-service support missions ever at Fort McCoy on Feb. 15 when Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) completed after six months.
Fort McCoy received notice on Aug. 15 that it would be receiving evacuees from Afghanistan on short notice. The exact number of evacuees wasn’t certain right away but many installation planners knew it was going to be a significant number. Eventually, it grew to nearly 13,000 Afghan evacuees living and eating all their meals at Fort McCoy.
“Right away we knew we would have a monumental challenge before us,” said Fort McCoy Food Program Manager Andy Pisney. “Over time with the mission, we had our ups and downs but everyone worked very hard to provide food support to the nearly 13,000 Afghans and almost 2,000 additional people on post supporting Task Force McCoy.
The installation’s food-service team not only includes the Food Program Management Office and the Subsistence Supply Management Office. It also includes the full food-service contractors; and food suppliers, such as Sysco Foods of Baraboo, Wis.
During OAW, Pisney said 31 of 34 Fort McCoy dining facilities were in use to support the operation for either feeding Afghans or Task Force personnel or were being used as Wi-Fi centers, classrooms, and more.
“That not only included all of our newer, recently built dining facilities but also our World War II-era facilities that are located in the blocks throughout the cantonment area,” he said.
Also, overall, Pisney said the Food Program Management Office and Subsistence Supply Management Office ordered, received, issued, and receipted approximately $19.3 million in subsistence for the facilities feeding Afghan evacuees or serving as “grab-and-go” facilities.
“Our team also ordered and receipted 2,171,448 cans or bottles of water for the guests, and we sourced and cataloged 120 new subsistence items for guests in conjunction with Sysco Baraboo, LLC, and the Defense Logistics Agency-Troop Support,” Pisney said. “Items included Halal Certified Proteins and culturally acceptable foods.”
Pisney said they also established a seven-day guest dining facility menu with associated recipe cards used throughout OAW mission.
“We also established a central Class I warehouse concept in building 490 in conjunction with the OAW main contractor to support all dining facilities which reduced total amount of subsistence storage needed at the facilities,” Pisney said.
Jim Gouker, contract oversight representative and quality assurance evaluator with the Food Program Management Office, said their team was also appointed and performed the duties as the contracting officer’s representative for all OAW food-service operations.
“In this capacity, we conducted 279 surveillance inspections, submitted monthly dining facility audits, and coordinated feeding procedural actions with the assigned contracting organization and task force personnel,” Gouker said. “We inspected places every day during the operation. Many times we completed numerous inspections each day. We really wanted to do the best job possible, and I think we accomplished that.”
Pisney also shared some weekly and daily facts about how busy it was to feed the thousands of people during the operation.
“When we were feeding nearly 13,000 guests per meal, we received eight semi-loads of food per day and 48 semi-loads of food per week,” Pisney said. “We also received three semi-loads of milk per week, two semi-loads of juice per week, and one semi-load of bread per week.
“There was also approximately 9,700 pounds of protein served per day, and there was more than 8,000 pounds of rice and potatoes served per day as well as more than 8,000 pounds of vegetables served per day,” Pisney said.
Another interesting set of facts, Pisney said, was how the newer dining facilities accommodated the evacuees. All were functioning well beyond their intended capacity.
“At the peak of the feeding operations, facility 2472 was feeding 4,500 people a meal,” Pisney said. “That’s normally a facility with a capacity to feed 1,428 people a meal. So that’s approximately over three times what the design capacity is. And also, the facility in the 1800 block was feeding over 3,800 people every meal.”
And even though the overall operation is over, Pisney said the lessons learned from the effort will benefit operations in the future.
“This, to me, was a good exercise for what we can do as a Mobilization Force Generation Installation (MFGI) in a worst-case scenario,” Pisney said.
“MFGI operations, before this happened, would look at supporting thousands of people. So what this did here sort of validated the concept of MFGI for feeding.”
Pisney said his core team of people who supported the operation was nine people. In addition to himself and Gouker, that also included Kris Miner, Tamra Meyer, Mary Hardie, Scott Molle, Kelly Tilbury, Nancy Brown, and Bill Weekley.
“Everyone did very well during this huge effort,” Pisney said. “Everyone here was either here at 6 a.m. every day pulling rations off trucks or doing the ordering, receiving, and more. I am very proud of everyone who supported this effort.”
Now the food-service effort for the rest of the year will shift significantly back to full-time support for training. With tens of thousands of troops lined up to train on post, Pisney said his team will continue to do great work.
“We have many unsung heroes, especially when you are talking about this team,” Pisney said.
“Food service is a training enabler, and we don’t ever want it to be a distractor. The mission always comes first, and if we can support the mission without distracting from it — that’s perfect. I appreciate everything this team does. We are here to support. It’s our mission, and we always try to do the best we can.”
Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.
The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/fmpao, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”
Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base.