Schweinfurt, this is your Garrison Commander, LTC Mike Runey. I want to be open with you regarding some tough decisions we have to make at the garrison level.
Based on input received from key leaders here, both civilian and military, I’ve decided to close the Ledward Dining Facility (DFAC) on weekends. The Ledward DFAC will close permanently March 19, 2013.
So what happened? First, let me make clear that just because we can close something does not mean that we automatically will close something. Instead, the reduction in troop levels here has put a strain on our ability as a community of Soldiers and civilians to deliver meals at two installations.
Before closing or modifying a service, we look at what options we have available to keep a service running. So, for example, we ask, Can we rely on Soldiers to help staff an operation such as the DFAC? Can we use an outside contractor to provide the service? Are there other creative ways to keep it running?
To date, we’ve been fortunate, because as the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion re-stationed in Grafenwoehr, Soldiers and the leadership of the 1-77 Field Artillery Regiment stationed here in Schweinfurt kept the Ledward DFAC running strong.
But suppose there is less and less of a need for a particular service, particularly with closure in the horizon. This has been the case with the Ledward DFAC.
The primary function of Army DFACs is to provide three square meals a day to Soldiers who are our meal card holders. The meal cards identify Soldiers as entitled to what’s called subsistence in kind entitlement (SIK). If the SIK utilization rate at the DFAC is continuously low, then we are forced to consider modifying or taking the service offline.
When the 44th ESB re-stationed in Grafenwoehr, the number of meal card holders using the Ledward DFAC dropped significantly. What’s more, the deactivation of 172nd Brigade Combat Team—which includes Schweinfurt units 172nd Support Battalion, 1-77 Field Artillery Regiment and the 9th Engineer Battalion—has put a crimp on staffing the DFAC. The 1-77 Field Artillery leadership can’t sustain manning the DFAC and must now focus on deactivating and PCSing Soldiers and families.
My top priority is to continue to support and sustain Army combat capability up through closure. With that being said, we’re going to make sure our Soldiers are fed.
If you’re a Soldier or a civilian who used the Ledward DFAC, you have options. Take advantage of our award-winning Conn DFAC on Conn Barracks. If you live or work on Ledward, car pool or use the garrison shuttle to Conn Barracks. Also our Main Exchange still offers a food court and Rhor’s Café remains open at The Commons (Bldg. 224).
We will continue to work closely with the community as the post takes on a new identity. We will continue to keep our community healthy and vibrant until the last person leaves.