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New mobile kitchen provides meals for deployed Airmen

  • Published
  • By Mr. Tom Demerly
  • 127th Wing

Members of the 127th Force Support Squadron tested an important piece of equipment when they successfully served freshly burgers and chocolate chip cookies within an hour of setting up their single pallet expeditionary kitchen. The FSS team trained with the E-SPEK when they served lunch at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, during the March 7, 2024 training.

“The new E-SPEK gives us the capabilities to use one feeding platform rather than two when transiting through the force modules,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Dawn Porter, 127th Force Support Squadron's services chief. “Prior to this we would serve (unitized group rations) during the bare base setup, while building another feeding platform to produce A-Rations. Now we can transition from UGRs to A-Rations once subsistence contracts are in place, reducing the need for additional assets and 40 to 60 percent less fuel.”

The highly portable E-SPEK can be set-up by only two people, deploying the folding container sides into the full kitchen in less than 15 minutes. Once set up and running, the kitchen has enough self-contained power within the unit to feed up to 500 troops in under two hours. Cooking is accomplished with highly-efficient closed-combustion heat exchangers that resemble small jet engines. These heat exchangers reduce or eliminate noise and accumulated heat. The E-SPEK unit even includes a tilting, heated serving line for dispensing hot-A meals efficiently and a tilting field sanitation unit for clean-up once meals have been served.

Once the E-SPEK is deployed and configured for operation, its cooking capabilities could suit even a discriminating sous-chef. A full suite of insulated appliances complete with exhaust hoods, reduced heat and noise to help maintain a cool, productive workspace make field cooking efficient, ergonomic and comfortable.

“We can cook almost anything with this. It’s completely self-contained,” said Tech Sgt. Anthony Renaud, services craftsman with the 127th FSS. “Even the power comes with it. And the food is really good!”

The entire self-contained kitchen unit loads directly into the current aircraft cargo restraint system as found on the C-17 Globemaster III. Two complete E-SPEK kitchen units can be loaded onto a standard 20-foot ISO container for rapid standardized transport by sea. Once in theater, the E-SPEK can be transported to a forward area by tactical airlift, including helicopter sling load, or on flatbed trucks.