Marine Corps Food Service
Lt. Col. Carlos Sanabria, USMC, Director
Marine Corps Foodservice Program
Government Food Service: What changes to Marine
Corps foodservice operations have you seen or helped to
bring about since last year’s Commander’s Update?
Lt. Col. Sanabria: I have been fortunate to have an
extremely professional staff supporting the foodservice program. While it is too early to claim credit for
specific changes, we have been extremely busy over
the past year. Our efforts have included: the testing of
the prototype Expeditionary Field Kitchen; planned
fielding of the Enhanced-TRHS; participation in myriad discussions involving the Common Food Management System (CFMS); participation in the Joint
Integrated Field Feeding (JIFF) working group; and,
last, but certainly not least, the tremendous effort in
preparation of documents necessary for our follow-on
garrison foodservice contracts.
Additionally, we worked with the U.S. Army Veterinary Command (VetCom) to conduct its first iteration
of the Operational Rations Course specifically structured for Marines. The course was derived from the
two-week course held annually at the Department of
Veterinary Science at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The core
audience was Marine Corps foodservice personnel,
with other attendees including the supply community
assigned to local rations warehouse and to geographically located Army food inspectors. Twenty-six participants were trained to familiarize Marines with identity
and inspection procedures of rations in accordance
with VETCOM inspection references and procedures.
Government Food Service: For 2009, your answer
focused on addressing skill-set and occupational specialty progression; please explain this and describe what lies
ahead for 2010.
Lt. Col. Sanabria: The needs of the operating forces
have been voiced to the Director, Marine Corps Food
Service Courses and addressed via several Course
Content Review Boards (CCRB), Professional Military
Education and symposiums. The CCRB procedure
validated required skill sets and developed and incorporated changes to the foodservice curriculums at all
levels. We will continue to coordinate efforts between
formal schools and the training provided by our Food
Management Teams to improve proficiency.
Government Food Service • March 2010
Government Food Service: Seems as though the Marines are being environmentally conscious, trying to reduce
food waste and control plastic foam.
Lt. Col. Sanabria: Following up on initiatives addressed last year, continued efforts have been implemented at installations with the procurement of
additional compost machines that reduce the weight
and volume of food scraps generated by the mess
halls. The contract for a total oil-management system
aboard Camp Lejeune was recently awarded with implementation ongoing. Additional actions are being
taken to prepare the facilities to support this type of
Through our contracting partners, our CONUS
mess halls have been employing innovative best-practices for sustainability that include the recycling of
cardboard, plastic bottles, metal cans and paper. Mess
halls aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground
Task Force Twentynine Palms, Calif., have almost completely eliminated the use of Styrofoam. The Food Service Officer aboard Marine
Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, has a very
aggressive plan to use almost exclusively biodegradable flatware for take-out service with
a potential to include these products for inhouse feeding as well. In addition, our re-solicitation requires offerors to provide a Green
Procurement Strategy plan.
Government Food Service: Please discuss
any new initiatives or concepts for Marine Corps
foodservice operations for 2010 or beyond.
Lt. Col. Sanabria: The Marine Corps has participated in several working group meetings with representatives from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army PM-Force
Sustainment Systems (PM-FSS) to discuss areas of
potential commonality for field-feeding equipment
and systems. The overall purpose is to bring the three
services that use ground-based field-feeding systems
together in a structured manner to work toward designing and engineering common systems that each
service can use in its own respective operational situations. The group is specifically looking at developing
standard interfaces, appliance configurations, design
constraints, definitions of commerciality, and common
maintenance standards and concepts.
This Joint Integrated field-feeding working group
has been hosted by representatives from the Office of
the Director, Food Systems Equipment Team, and Systems Equipment and Engineering Team and Natick
Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC).
In garrison, we await the initiatives that industry will
propose with the RGFSC competitive bid and we look
forward to implementing these upon contract award.
Common Food Management System (CFMS). The
services in coordination with the J6 and the J4 staff continue to advance the development of this program. The
CFMS is a system that has been designed to replace
the services’ five current food management systems,
and is scheduled for Marine Corps pilot during 2011.
The CFMS executive board, chaired by the director,
DLA, and attended by senior leaders from the services
and Joint Staff, meet frequently and are committed to
a joint solution for common processes.
Government Food Service: What effect, if any, will
the consolidation under Joint Culinary Center of Excellence
have for Marine Corps food service?
Lt. Col. Sanabria: While the Marine Corps is satisfied with our current training at Fort Lee, we are looking
forward to observing the Navy and Air Force foodservice programs, which will enhance our perspective and
familiarity. It should be noted that the U.S. Army and
Government Food Service • March 2010
Marines have been in this joint environment for several
years now, so the addition of the other services should
have no immediate impact on our food service program.
At this point, there are no imminent changes to the
Government Food Service: Is there anything else
you would like to add about the evolution of Marine Corps
foodservice operations? What are the most significant concerns facing Marine Corps food service? Have you attended
any civilian conferences that presented interesting culinary
Lt. Col. Sanabria: My primary concern is to maintain the essential ability to meet the requirement to
provide foodservice operations to the expeditionary
forces. Another concern is to ensure that our CONUSbased mess halls continue to deliver good food at a
good value to the Marines and the Corps. Finally, I
want to ensure that the decisions that are made today
with regard to equipment and rations, support the
needs of tomorrow’s warfighter.
Government Food Service: The Regional Garrison
Foodservice Contracts expired in September 2009, leaving
one remaining option year, which expires in September 2010.
Will the second phase cover the same number of facilities?
How will the second set of contracts differ from the first? You
suggested one difference is performance based instead of government procedures. Please explain any changes. How are the
changes expected to affect the day-to-day menu options?
Lt. Col. Sanabria: The Marine Corps exercised the
final option year with Sodexo effective Oct. 1, 2009. A
Request for Proposal (RFP) was advertised in Federal
Business Opportunities on Oct. 30, 2009, highlighting
our requirements for the follow-on solicitations. Additional solicitation revisions (amendments), including
our response to over 200 questions from offerors, have
also posted to FedBizOps. The government will award a
single contract resulting from each solicitation, East and
West Coast. Award of contract will be based on an inte-
grated assessment of each proposal, and award will be
made to the offeror whose proposal is judged to provide
the best overall value to the government on evaluation
factors included in the RFP. The due date for proposals
for each contract is February 24, 2010.
The follow-on contracts will contain Incentive and
Award Fee applications that include provisions for application of both Incentive Fee payments and Award Fee
payments, based on information provided in an Incentive/Award Fee Plan, which is available in the solicitation.
The number of facilities under the proposal is not
significantly different from our present number. Our
Installation Food Service Officers have been engaged
in several Military Construction projects that will add,
refurbish and/or consolidate current mess halls. We
are in the process of opening new mess halls aboard
Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C., with
additional projects scheduled for Camp Lejeune, and
a future project aboard Marine Air Ground Task Force
Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Government Food Service: What changes have been
made to the Marine Corps 21-day Master Menu over the
past year, and what changes are in store for 2010? Do menus
vary between the contract-managed food service at domestic bases and Marine Corps-operated facilities overseas?
There seems to be an emphasis on diversifying the menu
Government Food Service • March 2010
with ethnic meals and Limited Time Offerings. Is this consistent worldwide or only at contract-managed facilities on
the continental U.S.?
Lt. Col. Sanabria: Last year’s menu refresh has
been well received by our Marines and Sailors, and
we are satisfied with that implementation. With this
year’s emphasis on the recompete for the CONUS
mess halls, we have yet to tackle that effort in earnest.
Nevertheless, our general managers continue to provide innovative food offerings to customers, ensuring
that healthy options as well as trendy food items are
served. Additionally, we are pleased that our ethnic
meals, recognizing the diverse population in the Marine Corps, are always well received.
We are presently re-examining, with the support
from Navy dietitians, the menus offered to recruits
(both male and female) undergoing basic training. The
initial results of that study are currently under review.
We are engaged in a comprehensive nutritional
study requested by our Special Operations Command
with the support of the U.S. Army Research Institute
for Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) to determine
optimal nutrient requirements and feeding processes
for Marine Special Operations Schools’ Individual
Training Course (ITC) students. ITC is a unique, intensive, six-month long training course that is both physically and mentally demanding.
Government Food Service: We should also ask for an
update on the Quad Container Refrigeration system, which
went into first article testing almost two years ago, as well
as on Enhanced Tray Ration Heating System (E-TRHS) and
Expeditionary Field Kitchen (EFK). A higher-capacity Field
Food Service System complements the equipment. Tell us
how these are progressing and any changes resulting. What
is the planned role of these units and which companies are
working with the Marines?
Lt. Col. Sanabria: The Quad Container Refrigeration system prototype was concluded and the system
performed as planned. However, our engineer community had procured Small Field Refrigeration Systems
(SFRS), meeting our requirements while minimizing
the number of different systems to support with parts
and maintenance. The SFRS currently being fielded
will be an inherent part of the E-TRSH.
The E-TRHS uses the kitchen-in-a-box concept. All
of the required cooking appliances, utensils and serving wares are packed in an easily transportable container. The container also carries a military standard
refrigeration system so that when a suitable cooking
and service site is found, the box is opened, the equipment set up outside the container, and the container
used to store semi-perishable or perishable food. The
container is the SFRS and uses a Thermo King Refrigeration Unit.
The E-TRHS is a USMC group field-feeding platform designed to feed 250 warfighters and will be the
forward-feeding solution to the mid-level gap in field
feeding between the current TRHS and the Field Food
Service System. It provides a versatile, deployable and
scalable support capability, saving time and resources
while increasing the options to prepare other families
of group rations.
The E-TRHS program requires integration of separately procured parts. The Marine Corps Systems
Command is acting as the fielding integrator with
anticipated First Unit Equipped planned for March
2010. Components to support that integration will be
offloaded from MPS ships to complete
EFK Limited User Evaluation Testing: A LUE of the EFK was conducted
aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., during
November 2009. The Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering
Center - DoD Combat Feeding Directorate (CFD), along with representatives
of Marine Corps Systems Command
and Marines from the II Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in this
evolution. The EFK is a trailer-based
portable kitchen housed in a two-way
ISO container and towed by the MTVR
series of prime movers. All appliances
are heated by JP-8 fired heat source and
the system operates on less than 10kw
of power. The LUE precedes the final
Government Food Service • March 2010
system specification and is intended to provide final
input from the users on the content, arrangement and
human factors for the system. This information will be
included with inputs received from the developmental
testing. The LUE started with user training and supported preparation and service of three hot meals per
day for 500 Marines throughout the five-day evaluation. The LUE incorporated the entire family of group
rations during this week’s service. Foodservice Marines and supervisory personnel were debriefed after
every meal in order to capture thoughts and observations about the layout and equipment performance.
Initial feedback indicates high-acceptability ratings
for the kitchen layout and cooking appliances. Recommendations for improvement were provided, and the
data collected from the evaluation shall be used to improve the draft EFK system specification.
The updated system specification shall be used as
the basis for a firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to be awarded in fiscal 2010.
Government Food Service: Are the Marines (W.P.T.
Hill) and Air Force presenting awards at the National Restaurant Association show again this year? Are any changes
planned to the program? Please tell us about plans for this
Lt. Col. Sanabria: The Marine Corps will be awarding the Maj. Gen W.P.T. Hill awards for food service excellence on May 22, 2010, in conjunction with the U.S.
Air Force’s Hennessy Awards ceremony in Chicago,
Ill. We do not anticipate any significant changes due
to the ceremony’s rigid schedule supporting the National Restaurant Association’s board meeting, which
immediately follows the awards program. The Marine
Corps is proud to announce the annual award winners
providing excellence in garrison and field food service