DFAC Provides Soldiers Financial Relief

Story by Staff Sgt. Joel F. Gibson
Photos by Sgt. Albert Lamont
13th SC(E) Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas — With the gasoline cost national average reaching $3.29 a gallon this week, anything Soldiers can do to keep their travel miles down is a benefit.

At lunchtime, everyday, thousands of Soldiers pile into vehicles and head off to casual dining and fast food restaurants that dot the landscape of highway 190 and downtown Killeen.

According to a 2005 study by the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, the average fast food diner spends $6.07 per meal, the average midscale restaurant diner spends $7.77 per meal, and the average casual dining restaurant meal checks in at $11.65.

Compare those rates to the Freeman Dining Facility here, serving breakfast for $2.10, lunch for $3.35, and dinner for $3.85. Compound that with the fact that most Fort Hood Soldiers work within walking distance of a dining facility, and you start to see some serious savings.

“We’re trying to offer everything you can get on the economy,” said Sgt. 1st Class Lucio M. Norris, Food Service Manager for Freeman DFAC.

“You can go to a restaurant and spend more than $8 on one meat, one vegetable, a salad, and a drink, or come here, get all of that and dessert, for less than half the money.”

If a Soldier eats at the DFAC everyday for lunch he will save $8.30 per day, which adds up to $41.50 per week, and that doesn’t even include gas money to travel to a local casual dining restaurant.

Calculated out over a year, Soldiers eating lunch at a DFAC will save $2075.00 more than Soldiers who do lunch every day at casual dining restaurants.

$2075.00 is enough money for a couple to go on a seven-night Caribbean cruise with an oceanview room.

It’s also enough to pick up a 60-inch Liquid Crystal Display High Definition Television.

“I just feel the quality of the food is the same or better here at Freeman, than you can get in most of the restaurants off-post,” said Pfc. Alexandra N. Baker, a food service specialist with the 36th Medical Evacuation Battalion.

As with everything else in the Army, DFACs constantly go through changes to keep up with the demands of the time.

“We’re now in the process of making one side of the dining area into a sports bar type atmosphere and the other side a contemporary dining experience,” said Norris.

“I think if Soldiers could see past the DFAC stereotypes, they would realize the quality and atmosphere rival any area restaurant, and the value is much better than anything off-post,” said Baker.

“It’s a good value compared to off-post,” said Pvt. Fidencio Diaz, a chemical specialist with the 31st Chemical Company, 2nd Chemical Battalion, 48th Chemical Brigade.

“I like it, it keeps me eating healthy,” said Pvt. Chelsea G. Lockhoff, an automated logistics specialist with the 21st Combat Support Hospital.

“I stay on post, so it’s a lot more convenient for me to eat at the DFAC,” said Lockhoff, “Gas prices are high, so it’s cheaper to get there with a short drive or a walk.”

 

Spc Kris G Wamsley, Pvt Fidencio Diaz, and Pfc. Sam Trujillo
Spc. Kris G. Wamsley, Pvt. Fidencio Diaz, and Pfc. Sam Trujillo, all chemical specialists with the 31st Chemical Company, 2nd Chemical Battalion, enjoy a meal at the Freemand Dining Facility here April 3.