By Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Schriever Airmen assigned to Essential Station Messing, better known as the “meal plan”, will need to make sure they follow ESM guidelines a little more closely beginning Feb. 15.
According to a memorandum from Air Force Services Activity, food services have noticed an upward trend in cost per meal average for ESM at both Legacy and Food Transformation Initiative locations. Due to that increase, there will be an added emphasis on making sure Airmen assigned to ESM know and follow ESM guidelines.
Bill Arimborgo, 50th Force Support Squadron Food and Beverage manager, said some possible reasons why there would be an increase in cost include Airmen getting more than three meals in a day, or taking more than the allotted food amount when going through the serving line.
“There’s a specific guideline that states (Airmen on ESM) can only get three meals a day,” Arimborgo said. “Even within those three meals a day, it breaks down as far as they can only get X number of entrée items and they’re not to use the food to stock their dorm rooms.”
Arimborgo added the issue of Airmen getting more than three meals a day is the biggest concern here at Schriever due to the Airmen assigned to ESM living on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
“Our concern is Airmen get a breakfast at Peterson before they drive out here, come here, go to the dining facility and get another breakfast, then do the reverse and grab dinner here before they head back to Peterson and get another dinner when they arrive there,” he said.
The ESM guidelines state ESM members, “May not receive more than one entrée serving, more than two beverages and two snack items per meal period.” The guidelines also say that while carryout meals may be used as part of the daily three meal ration, carryout meals may not be used as a second meal in the same meal period.
Arimborgo added the planned addition of midnight meals could create instances of Airmen getting more than three meals per day because the planned offering for midnight meals in March doesn’t follow the “traditional” menu.
“According to the Air Force, the first meal of the day is the midnight meal, where you get breakfast items,” Arimborgo said. “We’re in a unique situation in that our midnight meal, if you look at the 14-day menu, is not the traditional midnight meal because it’s strictly going to be cold sandwich, soup and a salad. If someone happens to be working a mid-shift (here), gets a midnight meal and then goes to Peterson, there’s that potential that they could get more than three meals a day.”
It’s important to note that the guidelines themselves are not new; however, there will be a new emphasis on enforcing the existing rules.
“(ESM abuse) is something we’re starting to monitor and will be enforcing starting on Feb. 15,” Arimborgo said.
Arimborgo said the enforcement process will start with dining facility servers and cashiers. Servers will need to be conscious about verifying which people are on ESM and making sure they’re giving correct portions.
“Our emphasis is two-fold, it starts with the servers and ends with the cashiers,” he said. “So it’s going to start with the servers when (Airmen) are getting their food. It’s up to those servers to know, ‘OK he’s already got a steak, I can’t give him another steak.’ So that’s where we need to focus our intent, is on the servers.”
Arimborgo was quick to note that in the six months he has served as manager, he has not seen any abuse of ESM privileges by Schriever Airmen.
The ESM guidelines have been posted at dining facilities on Schriever. For more information, contact Food Services at 567-4732 or 567-4741