Fort McCoy News December 12, 2014

Units can create their own dining options at McCoy

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Most military installations have limited dining facilities to support operations. Service members at Fort McCoy have more options available.

Fort McCoy's 32 transient training dining facilities provide a unique opportunity for unit food service personnel to manage their unit's dining experience, said Fort McCoy Food Service Manager Andy Pisney from the Logistics Readiness Center's Supply and Services Division.

Photo for DFAC article
Pfc. Stephanie Hajdas and Staff Sgt. Jesse Galvin, food service specialists from the 132nd Brigade Support Battalion of Baraboo, Wis., stock food at a Fort McCoy transient troop dining facility.

Pisney said units that sign out a dining facility develop their own food service schedules and menus, and feed their troops on the unit's schedule in a location convenient for their personnel.

"Each one of the transient training dining facilities is located in the various blocks on Fort McCoy," said Pisney, a retired Soldier who spent more than 20 years in the Army's food service career field.

"Depending on where they are billeted, units can sign out dining facilities in the same area as their barracks."

Fort McCoy's cantonment area, built during World War II in "cookie-cutter blocks," puts a dining facility within walking distance of wherever a unit is billeted, Pisney said.

"Most often it works out where we can accommodate units that want to cook for themselves," Pisney said. "Our staff does an excellent job helping these units have that capability open to them."

Each block has two dining facilities that are connected, Pisney said. Units with a large number of service members at Fort McCoy for training may end up signing out two of the facilities.

Regardless of the number needed, Pisney said the dining facilities are ready for use at all times.

"That's what is unique about Fort McCoy," Pisney said. "When you sign for a facility here, you get a complete dining facility. It is first class. You have TVs, air conditioning, all new cooking equipment, dishwashing equipment, a full pantry that has all your pots, pans and utensils.

"All you need is the food," Pisney said.

Zandra Myers, Fort McCoy Food Service specialist, said she and her coworkers in food service management work hard to ensure units get what they need. They also work with other agencies, such as the Directorate of Public Works Training Facility Support Branch, to maintain the facilities.

"We make sure all the facilities are stocked with the right number of items needed to operate successfully," said Myers who also is a retired Soldier from the food service career field. "If any of our customers need anything, we'll immediately help them get what they need."

Pisney said all of the transient dining facilities have been renovated, and have had increased use over the last six years.

"The number of units wanting to sign out a dining facility has increased every year since 2008," Pisney said. "We had 122 in the last fiscal year, 99 the year before that and so on. Since the end of mobilization, more units are going back to having fully trained food service specialists and doing their own cooking. Our facilities, I believe, make that effort easier for them."

In addition to transient training dining facilities, Pisney's office oversees the food service contract at two "brick and mortar" facilities — buildings 50 and 2674 — and will do the same at the new dining facility at the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer Academy complex.

Having the ability to sign out a dining facility significantly helps with training too, according to Pfc. Stephanie Hajdas, food service specialist from the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 132nd Brigade Support Battalion, Company D, at Baraboo.

"It's nice to be able to come to Fort McCoy and get right to work," Hajdas said. "The staff support here, too, is excellent."

Myers said everyone who supports the Fort McCoy Food Service Program is dedicated to excellence. "I love food service — I have a passion for what I do and so does everyone else here," she said.

Pisney agreed. "I think all of us understand the importance of quality food service for the troops. We understand food, and we understand our customers. We have a great team."

For more information about Fort McCoy's dining facilities and food service capabilities, call Pisney at 608-388-4739.