HomeNewsArticle Display

09-105 Flood Feature: Guard Works to Keep Troops Fed for Flood Fight

VALLEY CITY and FARGO, N.D. -- Military cooks fed thousands of hungry people a day during the Red River Valley flood crisis and they are still serving hundreds a day as the flood fight moves west.

In Valley City, military cooks are now feeding more than 300 troops a day from their kitchen at the armory, said Sgt. 1st Class Allen L. Kupitz, Stirum, food operations sergeant for the 231st Maneuver Task Force.

There were 17 cooks assigned to duty in Valley City as of Saturday. The cooks come from about a half-dozen different North Dakota Army National Guard units, Kupitz said.

"As the troop numbers creep up, we're hoping our numbers go up, too," said Sgt. 1st Class Kirk A. Seaver, Rugby, who serves as shift leader in the Valley City kitchen. "We had eight people on at first and have received nine more since we started."

The cooks have been keeping food available in the armory around the clock, Seaver said.
They serve a full breakfast and dinner meal and they keep a soup and sandwich bar running the rest of the day.

The kitchen in the Valley City armory is the right size to feed about 100 Guardsmen, Kupitz said. "We're pushing it here," he said. "People have been pretty mentally agile adjusting to conditions."

"It's a challenge, but a challenge is good sometimes," Seaver said. "We all have to work together."

Meanwhile, in Fargo, military food service operations are winding down, said Senior Master Sgt. Walt W. Laudon, Detroit Lakes, Minn., the 119th Wing's Force Support Squadron Services Flight Manager.

Flood food operations started small on March 20, when Laudon and his colleague Tech. Sgt. David E. Mehus first took box lunches to the FargoDome and "Sandbag Central." The Wing's kitchen couldn't be opened because they were the only two on shift.

"The box lunches were used because we didn't want to consume the food the Salvation Army and Red Cross had," Laudon said. "That was for civilian volunteers who needed it just as much."

After eight days of delivering box lunches, Laudon and Mehus were notified they had nine hours to get the 119th's kitchen running.

"We went from no operations at all to full operations in the span of hours," Laudon said.

Laudon said it went smoothly because they had experienced things like this on short notice during Desert Storm and following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The 119th's dining facility soon had five cooks per shift and was serving about 1,000 meals per day.

Barely a mile to the northwest, the Fargo Armed Forces Reserve Center kitchen was serving 1,000-plus meals each for breakfast and dinner, Laudon said.

After the first crest of the Red River in Fargo, both dining facilities shut down operations for a few days. They ramped back up again in early April and were serving about 400 meals per day.

"They were preparing for the worst in the Valley, and when the threat went away they started reducing shifts," Seaver said. "Now they're just keeping a skeleton crew in Fargo."

The 119th dining facility may soon return to cooking only drill weekends.

"Ops here are pretty much closing down," Laudon said. "They're going to push everything to Valley City."

--

Since the terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 2,800 Soldiers and more than 1,600 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. In recent weeks, nearly 2,000 North Dakota National Guardsmen - with support of about 400 additional Soldiers and Airmen from six other states - have been mobilized for current flood fighting missions all across North Dakota. With a total force of about 4,400 Soldiers and Airmen, we continue to have sufficient forces available to provide emergency response and homeland defense.

-30-
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.