Camp Shelby Stays Busy Processing National Guard Soldiers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/09/04

Camp Shelby Stays Busy Processing National Guard Soldiers

Camp Shelby is getting high marks for its training and mobilization of thousands of National Guard Troops. At the height of the recent call up, the military facility hosted some eight thousand soldiers.

It takes tons of french fries and hundreds of hamburgers to keep hungry troops happy. Food prep teams here are experienced with filling super size orders.

"Well, on the average we had about six thousand that we actually fed. We fed breakfast and dinner each day," said food service director, Ronnie Nail.

Filling a soldier's stomach means high carb, high calorie meals.

"The hamburger and the fries type meal. Of course, everybody likes that. And they seem to like the fried chicken and the fried catfish that we do," said Nail.

Hungry soldiers hit the chow line with healthy appetites. Building Number 410 is one of 28 chow halls that was up and running to meet the needs of some six thousand troops.

Milton Thompon certainly liked his hamburger and fries.

"They do pretty well," said Thompson, "Just like McDonald's."

Feeding thousands of hungry soldiers is just one small part of keeping Camp Shelby running smoothly. Many of the day to day challenges for operating the training facility fall under the responsibility of the public works directorate.

"Our job is to provide the best quality facilities we can within the budget we're given," said assistant public works director, Paul McDonald.

It means maintaining two and half million square feet "under roof". Training and mobilizing thousands of troops tested the capabilities.

"We're finally starting to make that transition from the big hurdle of standing them up, getting them in. Now we're in a sustainable mode where, hey, keep sending soldiers here, we've got a program and a process in place," said McDonald.

Camp Shelby stands ready to do its part, preparing troops for the expanding needs of the military. 

By Steve Phillips

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