Hercules DFAC set to reopen after innovation project

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Maria Umanzor Guzman
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Airlift Wing is set to reopen the Hercules Dining Facility, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 30, 2023, after completing a $1.4 million innovation project.

After identifying electrical overload concerns in the facility, the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron integrated natural gas into the systems in an effort to reduce the electrical load.

Instead of closing the dining facility and transitioning Airmen and Marines to basic allowance for subsistence, the 19th Mission Support Group decided to shift food service operations to Hangar 1080, the base club, until the project was completed.

"To ensure the continuation of our food operations prior to commencing the project, we relocated our $10.5 million food service operations to Hangar 1080 overnight," said Master Sgt. Ashley McCarthy, 19th Force Support Squadron food service section chief. “The entire project took approximately 123 days to complete.”

According to McCarthy, the decision to maintain food service operations in Hangar 1080 resulted in cost savings of $1.3 million for the Air Force. Additionally, it enabled 19th FSS Airmen to continue their mission requirements and upgrade training, thereby facilitating their progress towards being fully qualified in their occupations.

“We’ve been working hand-in-hand with Hangar 1080 and their staff, and they’ve been amazing,” said McCarthy. “They’ve allowed us to come in and share their space and we were able to create good ties.”

The project’s outcome will also reduce utility consumption at the DFAC by $6.8 thousand annually, continued McCarthy.

Furthermore, while the DFAC is striving for significant utility consumption reductions, the 19th FSS Airmen involved in the transition also conveyed positive experiences during their time in the Hangar 1080 facility.

“Moving to Hangar 1080 really allowed us to focus more time on our on-the-job training requirements,” said Airman Hermela Yosief, 19th FSS food service apprentice. “It was a new experience in a good environment, but I am also excited to go back to the dining facility.”

McCarthy also mentioned that because of the move into Hangar 1080, the 19th FSS was able to continue their Aramark contract, retaining civilians in various positions such as executive chef, general manager, and cashier.

Highlighted as a WIN for the 19th Mission Support Group, the successful completion of this project was a direct result of significant contributions from multiple squadrons within the group, including the 19th Contracting Squadron, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 19th CES and of course 19th FSS. Looking ahead, the 19th FSS food services center plans to further enhance the Hercules Dining Facility through future projects, including new beverage counters and upgrades to the serving area.