Fort Sill_The first new building to be completed under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) - is open and ready for business. Post leaders had a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday to effectively ‘turn on the ovens' at the Bamford Hall Dining Facility which will be a primary eatery for the 6th Air Defense Artillery School from Fort Bliss to Fort Sill.
7News Reporter Robert Richardson and Photographer Travis Stewart toured the $11 million dining facility, and sat down to enjoy the first meal that it has hosted. The ceremony included a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte - ‘An Army moves on its stomach.' Bamford Hall will be a place for soldiers to nourish their bodies and spirits. The Army says it's important to provide the very best for soldiers at all times. "We look at how we do business processes in everything we do, whether it's a crew drill on a Howitzer, or an operation inside a dining facility," said Garrison Commander Colonel Robert Bridgford.
The kitchen staff said the planners did a wonderful job creating the facility and selecting appliances with advanced technology. "It's nice to have help; and if you can build a better mousetrap then build it, and that's what they've done here," said Bamford Supervisor Adrian Perry.
A wall freezer connects to a thawing room so workers can roll foods from one room to the other. The kitchen is stocked, and there are self-cleaning machines capable of cooking larger quantities. "Makes it a lot easier to feed a lot more soldiers, make sure they're fed and just get good quality food out," said Perry.
As most soldiers would say the meal was good in order to avoid trouble with their superiors, Reporter Robert Richardson asked unbiased News Photographer - and food critic - Travis Stewart what he thought. "There is a huge variety and it's all good," he said. "I tried to try a little bit of everything, and it really was all better than I expected."
Not only was it the first meal in the hall, but also competition preparation for the Penultimate Service for the Fort Sill Culinary Arts Team who will compete at Fort Lee against all other Army chefs. "This was our practice for our culinary arts competition," said SPC and Army Chef Raymond Howard. "It's a live event that we have. It's going to be a field competition, and this is our meal." The chefs will compete to prepare the same three-course meal in the field and serve to soldiers there.
For soldiers who have no time for a sit-down meal, Bamford also has a wing where they can get burgers, sandwiches, and other short-order food-to-go. Fort Sill has eight other full-service dining facilities, and will build two more large facilities by 2011. Other current smaller dining facilities will be converted into classrooms.
Count on 7News to keep you updated on BRAC's progress.
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