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Home : News : Article Display
NEWS | March 7, 2024

Army Food Program assessment team visits Rheinland-Pfalz to learn what Soldiers want

By Cameron Porter 405th Army Field Support Brigade

An Army Food Program assessment team consisting of representatives from the Army Center of Excellence, Subsistence as well as U.S. Army Materiel Command and U.S. Army Sustainment Command conducted a site visit to multiple warrior restaurants in Baumholder and Kaiserslautern March 5-6.

The purpose of the visit was to assess the food service ecosystem in the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz area of operations and to gather information from the customers who frequent the warrior restaurants as well as the personnel who work there. The team will then take that information back to ASC, AMC and Army headquarters to share with senior leadership.

Part of a larger Army-wide food program assessment using two teams over a 90-day period that ends later this month, stops within the USAG Rheinland-Pfalz area included the Knight’s Lair Warrior Restaurant and the Castle Warrior Restaurant in Baumholder March 5, as well the Defender Café Warrior Restaurant at Rhine Ordnance Barracks and the Clock Tower Café Warrior Restaurant at Kleber Kaserne March 6.

Representatives from the Logistics Readiness Center Rheinland-Pfalz Supply and Services Division and the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s Food Program Office as well as the 16th Sustainment Brigade met with the assessment team each day and helped facilitate their visit.

The assessment team consisted of Ricky Gaines, the chief of the Futures and Modernization Division at the Army Center of Excellence, Subsistence, as well as Dennis Bryant, the AMC Army Food Innovation and Transformation deputy project officer, and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Curt Steineke, the ASC food service advisor.

Steineke said the Soldiers who live in the barracks and are authorized meal cards were the primary group they targeted, and the information they gathered will help senior leadership make informed decisions on a way forward.

The assessment team is also using an AMC Installation Assessment Army Food Program Survey to help gather information, which they handed out to Soldiers they met during the site visit. For those interested in participating in the survey, which is expected to be active until at least the end of March, go to HERE.

Having already gathered data at Army installations in Alaska, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and Fort Liberty, North Carolina, for example, Steineke and his team are formulating a clear understanding of what Soldiers are looking for, he said.

“Soldiers have voted with their feet and told us want they want,” said Steineke. “They want flexible feeding options. They want to have the ability to grab and go. They want to grab a meal and consume it elsewhere because of their busy schedules and work-life balance.”  

“So how do we increase the use of their meal entitlements because right now – if they eat at one of the other food vendors – that’s coming out of their own pockets?” Steineke said.

One way to do that, he said, is by providing multiple locations and options for the Soldiers, versus just one. Using kiosks, food trucks and other culinary outposts will help get the food to the Soldiers.

“It’s all about access,” Steineke said. “How can we get the Soldiers access to various food choices that are healthy and nutritious where they want it and how they want it?”

“And there are clearly some challenges,” said Steineke. “We have a younger generation who prefers to be more mobile. If you look at what’s happening on the commercial side, the access to the food is more mobile. How do we replicate that with the resources we have within the Army Food Program so that we are providing healthy, nutritious choices at those access points for the Solders?”

“A well-functioning food service ecosystem contributes to the overall health and morale of service members, enhancing their readiness and performance,” said Sgt. Maj. Erica Lark, 16th Sust. Bde. support operations sergeant major. “Assessing the food service ecosystem helps identify areas for improvement in operational efficiency, ensuring that resources are utilized effectively to meet the nutritional needs of service members.”

Senior Army leadership has clearly recognized the importance of building and incorporating a more modernized food ecosystem, according to an AMC Army Food Program News Dispatch video. Soldiers need access to affordable, healthy food options, geared toward where, when and what they want to best meet their needs and preferences.

“It’s time to revolutionize the way the Army feeds its troops,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher Mohan, deputy commanding general at AMC, in the video.

The LRC Rheinland-Pfalz installation food program supporting USAG Rheinland-Pfalz includes the Knight’s Lair and the Castle Warrior Restaurant in Baumholder, the Defender Café at Rhine Ordnance Barracks and the Clock Tower Café at Kleber Kaserne as well as the dining facility at the U.S. Army Regional Correctional Facility-Europe in Sembach.

LRC Rheinland-Pfalz is one of eight logistics readiness centers in Europe that report to the 405th AFSB, which is assigned to ASC and headquartered in Kaiserslautern. The brigade provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging AMC’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website and the official Facebook site.