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    155th Force Support Squadron provides food service support for Inauguration 2017

    Smiling Servers

    Photo By Lt. Col. Kevin Hynes | Airman 1st Class Ethan Haberman and Airman 1st Class Zachary Sagstetter, both members...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    111th Public Affairs Detachment

    “Mission complete.”
    Those were the two words that nine members of the Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Force Support Squadron brought back with them from a unique mission to support the inauguration of President Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
    The nine Lincoln-based Airmen were part of a contingent of more than 7,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 44 states, three territories and the District of Columbia who supported the inauguration as part of Joint Task Force-District of Columbia. While in D.C., the Nebraskans provided food support for military personnel supporting the inaugural activities.
    “Our mission was to support the Army people who were supporting the inauguration, keeping them fed at the time and location that they needed to be fed,” said Master Sgt. Jennifer Gubbels, a member of the squadron’s Services Flight who serves as the dining facility manager back in Nebraska.
    The Nebraska Guardsmen departed for their six-day mission on Jan. 17 aboard a Kansas Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker. In order to aid them with their missions, the Airmen deployed with their Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen – or SPEK – which is designed to be deployed via aircraft and then put into operation within three hours after landing.
    “This is the same equipment that we would use to support a mission like this, or a natural disaster or an overseas deployment,” said Gubbels about the training value that the inaugural mission brought to her unit’s Airmen, six of whom had never supported an inauguration before. “This is the same kitchen we would use for zero to 30 (days) if we were deployed. So, it’s nice to get that experience with a real-world mission.”
    National Guard support to presidential inaugurations dates to April 30, 1789, when local militia members (today’s National Guard) joined with U.S. Army and Revolutionary War veterans to form an honor detail and escort Gen. George Washington to his inauguration ceremony in New York City. Since then, National Guard support has grown and is designated to honor the commander-in-chief, recognize civilian control of the military and celebrate democracy.
    This year, the Joint Task Force – DC was formed in response to requests for assistance from local and federal agencies in the National Capital Region. There, the National Guard Soldiers and Airmen augmented the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police forces in a wide array of support missions, including traffic control, crowd management, logistics and communications.
    Over the course of the 2017 inaugural support mission, the nine Nebraska Airmen prepared a total of six hot meals and provided two Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) meals for approximately 100 Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers. Most of these meals were prepared out of a fixed facility at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, located on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., meaning that the Airmen didn’t get to use the SPEK as they had originally hoped.
    Still, say the Airmen involved, the experience of supporting a presidential inauguration is something they won’t soon forget.
    “It was really cool to be part of it,” said Senior Airman Katherine Walsh, a native of Wahoo, Nebraska, who currently is attending school at Wayne State College. While deployed, Walsh was responsible for maintaining accountability of the meals they were serving. “I felt like I learned a lot.”
    “It was just surreal. I’ve never gotten a chance to be part of something this big,” added Airman 1st Class Ethan Haberman, a services apprentice who is also from Wahoo, but is currently studying Accounting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “It was probably the craziest election ever, and just being part of it at this time was pretty neat.”
    According to Haberman and Walsh, probably the most difficult part of the mission was maintaining their flexibility to meet the almost ever-changing requirements of the operation. And the best part, they added, was probably the interaction they had with Soldiers from around the country.
    “It was crazy in the sense that we didn’t know where we were going or what we were going to be doing most of the time,” Haberman said about the constant changes to their schedules.
    “They were really nice,” added Welsh about the interactions she had with the Army Soldiers she met.
    Along with their cooking duties, there was also some time to take in the entire inaugural experience. Two days before the actual event, the Airmen were able to visit the National Mall and see exactly all that was going on to prepare for the Jan. 20 inaugural activities.
    “It was absolutely crazy,” Walsh said, adding that stages and large video screens had been set up at various locations around the Mall, while the area around the White House was completely blocked off. “There were just people everywhere. It was really crowded.”
    According to Gubbels, the mission, which ended with a Jan. 22 trip back to Nebraska aboard a C-17 transport aircraft from the Hawaii Air National Guard, was a great experience, especially for the youngest Airmen that participated in it.
    “I think they learned a lot about our mission and gained an understanding about what we were talking about,” she said. “They actually (got to) do the mission.”
    (Nebraska National Guard article by Lt. Col. Kevin Hynes)



    Date Taken: 01.26.2017
    Date Posted: 01.26.2017 13:25
    Story ID: 221484
    Location: WASHINGTON, DC, US 
    Hometown: LINCOLN, NE, US
    Hometown: WAHOO, NE, US
    Hometown: WAYNE, NE, US

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