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Navy Food Service Initiatives Being Tested Onboard USS Tarawa

Feeding the crew of a U.S. Navy ship is hard and demanding work for both the mess management specialists (MSs) and food service attendants (FSAs). The job ranges from planning, preparing and serving nutritious meals, through detailed galley recording keeping, to clean-up and maintenance of galley spaces, equipment and related areas. The typical workday runs from 5 a.m. until about 7:30 p.m.

In a concerted effort with the Fleet and the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) is reengineering Navy's Food Service Afloat program to improve the quality of life for sailors and create a more efficient food service operation afloat. As a key part of this effort, NAVSUP is currently prototyping 13 food service afloat initiatives onboard the USS Tarawa (LHA1) homeported in San Diego, Calif. The goal of the prototyping is to demonstrate the initiatives that may significantly reduce workload afloat while improving quality of life and nutrition. Multiple initiatives are being tested simultaneously in order to identify the synergies associated with initiatives that complement each other.

The thirteen initiatives being prototyped are:

  • Using smartcard technology to track consumption of meals in private messes.

  • Converting traditional full-service serving lines to self-service serving lines.

  • Using state-of-the-art cleaning equipment to improve sanitation and decrease cleaning time for galley spaces and equipment.

  • Adopting selected advanced food products (frozen, chilled, shelf-stable) that are highly acceptable to the crew, demonstrate labor savings and require less storage, rather than cooking the same item from scratch.

  • Using contractor support instead of ship's working parties to load pierside subsistence deliveries into storerooms.

  • Contracting out food service attendant functions (i.e., cleaning and trash removal) while in port.

  • Providing the latest in food service equipment technologies as identified by the Naval Sea Systems Command Affordability Through Commonality program.

  • Replacing manual inventory management process with bar-coding technology for recording receipts, breakouts/breakbacks and inventories.

  • Eliminating stateroom cleaning for all officers, O-4 and below. Junior officers assume responsibilities.

  • Minimizing food preparation in multiple galleys using standard menus and centralized preparation.

  • Installing no-wax and no-buff decking.

  • Serving preprepared entrees for the dinner meal while in port allows MSs and FSAs to secure at 1400 daily while providing a quality meal to the crew for the evening meal.

  • Implementing commercial sector inventory practices by inventorying food items based on the item's cost vice conducting routine wall-to-wall inventories.

The prototyping onboard the Tarawa began in October 1999, and will continue for one year. Those prototyped initiatives that prove successful will be adopted as the food service paradigm of the future.

NAVSUP's primary mission is to provide U.S. naval forces with quality supplies and services. With headquarters in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and employing a worldwide work force of more than 820 military personnel and more than 9,000 civilians, NAVSUP oversees logistics programs in the areas of supply operations, conventional ordnance, contracting, resale, fuel, transportation, and security assistance. In addition, NAVSUP is responsible for quality of life issues for our naval forces, including food service, postal services, Navy Exchanges, and movement of household goods.

For more information contact:
Elizabeth Van Wye
NAVSUP Public Affairs Officer
717-605-1543 or DSN 430-1543

January 2000

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