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    Grand opening of culinary kiosk and kitchenettes give Fort Story Soldiers quality of life upgrade



    Courtesy Story

    Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story

    VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Rep. Jen Kiggans, local community members, and guests from across the Department of Defense gathered at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Fort Story (JEBLCFS) to celebrate the grand opening of the Fort Story Culinary Outpost kiosk and kitchenettes during a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 5. This is the Army’s 12th culinary kiosk and the latest installment in the Army’s modernization efforts to enhance nutritious food options for Soldiers and improve overall quality of life.

    The kiosk is conveniently located within Fort Story’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation OneStop building and is open to everyone with base access. It features a wide variety of grab-and-go items, including frozen and refrigerated entrees, fruits and vegetables, and beverages. The kitchenettes, installed in each of the occupied barracks buildings, are stocked with all the amenities required to prepare and cook meals, which was not possible before due to fire safety codes.

    “The modernization of the kiosk and kitchenette initiative is a winning effort that will build mission-focused quality of life for the Soldiers and marks another important milestone for the Army as it continues to expand and improve healthy food options modeled after Department of Defense’s Total Force Fitness and Army Holistic Health and Fitness Program for Soldiers.” said Sgt. Maj. Barton Beatty of US Army Forces Command, a Soldier nearing retirement who began his career as a food specialist and has continuously worked to improve food services for Soldiers.

    Beatty highlighted the joint effort to open the kiosk in record time. “The 12th and arguably most important culinary kiosk in the Army opened in 277 days, by far the shortest timeline for any of the kiosks,” he said. He also noted that this was the first kiosk opened on a joint installation not led by the Army. “Today is a win for the Army, the Navy, and the whole Department of Defense.”

    The project began in November 2022 and involved rapid cooperation and execution across numerous agencies. Teams from Army Forces Command, Army Materiel Command, 7th Transportation Brigade Expeditionary, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, and the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence mobilized quickly and didn’t stop until completion, nearly a year ahead of the original timeline.

    "The success of this project demonstrates that highly professional teams who work together across service lines can accomplish great things." said Capt. David Gray, JEBLCFS commanding officer.

    Before the Culinary Outpost kiosk and kitchenettes opened, the inability to obtain healthy food and prepare home cooked meals presented a significant quality of life issue for Fort Story’s unaccompanied Soldiers, who have been without a dining facility since the last one closed in 2018. While the Soldiers receive an additional allowance to buy food, many struggled to find convenient, healthy options.

    “It was really a problem for people without cars,” said Spc. Diti Pandya, who lives in the barracks and helped cut the ribbon to open the Culinary Outpost. “It’s a huge improvement to have food available right at our doorstep and kitchenettes where we can prepare our own meals.”

    Rep. Kiggans, a former Navy helicopter pilot, felt a special connection to these Soldiers. She recalled her missions replenishing Navy ships with fresh food, and she also remembered how much it hurt morale when fresh options weren’t available. She promised to continue working to improve conditions for military members.

    “I am hyper focused on readiness, but also on quality of life issues,” Kiggans said. ‘’That’s what I wake up fighting for every single day up in Congress.”



    Date Taken: 10.06.2023
    Date Posted: 10.06.2023 14:44
    Story ID: 455373
    Location: VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, US

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