Connecticut services Airmen support deployment for training at Bellows Air Force Station

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker
  • 103rd Airlift Wing

As the sun rises over Waimanalo, Hawaii, services Airmen from the 103rd Force Support Squadron have already been busy preparing breakfast for their 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron counterparts and members of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

“In the morning we get up at 4:00 a.m. and we come out to the site location where the [Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen] is set up, and we fire up the heater unit,” said Master Sgt. David Torres, 103rd Force Support Squadron services NCOIC.

The Airmen at the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen, or SPEK, serve two hot meals per day at Bellows Air Force Station during the civil engineer deployment for training from April 8 – 19, 2019. This DFT has the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron working in tandem with the Royal Canadian Air Force to complete various construction projects around Bellows.

Working in this facility provides the Airmen a practical training experience, said Torres.

“Being in another environment, we’re able to work with other units and build off of what we already have,” said Torres. “Having the SPEK training gives the Airmen more of a knowledge-base of field feeding conditions because the SPEK is for real-world contingencies.”

This training is especially important in building readiness for Air National Guard units, said Staff Sgt. Gabriel Cartagena, a services member assigned to the 103rd Force Support Squadron.

“Getting to be on a DFT like this really hones our skills for if anything were to happen—if another natural disaster were to hit where we now have to set up our tents and know how to feed out of our ration heater, and how to set it up and do all the things that we do,” said Cartagena.

The services troops from Connecticut have also had the opportunity to develop partnerships through working with services Airmen from the 163rd Attack Wing in the California Air National Guard.

“This was a nice icebreaker for us to work with them in Hawaii and let them see how we work and see how they work,” said Torres.

The two units plan to train together this July.