Incirlik supports 'unexpected guests'

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Joy Tredway
  • 39th Services Squadron
People from the 39th Services Squadron here recently transformed an old fitness center into contingency lodging now bedding down nearly 400 deployed troops. But "Motel 39" is just one small piece of the bed-down and feeding operations puzzle.

"I'm impressed by how quickly (civil engineers) and services could prepare Motel 39 for occupants," said Lt. Col. Jeff Linskens, 39th SVS commander. "The members of the squadron, including deployed (people), have shown we can bring more contingency lodging facilities on line quickly if needed."

That readiness was first shown with the surprise arrival and extended stay of soldiers a few weeks ago. Although the old fitness center was renovated and set up with beds, services officials did not expect to open it for business so soon. Additional details added comfort to the building including a couple of televisions, a few white erase boards to post base information and posters made by elementary students.

"The posters were a warm welcome," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles Pike, from of the 200th Materiel Management Center. "That was really nice."

The soldiers had overwhelmingly positive comments about the support and welcome they received.

"Truthfully, we didn't expect to be here this long," said Army Staff Sgt. Denny Nelson, the 200th MMC aviation expeditor team noncommissioned officer in charge. "But this is the Taj Majal compared to what we're used to. Can't ask for much more than this."

Lately, the squadron has watched its lodging numbers, normally at a steady 135-percent capacity, explode to more than 200 percent. In turn, food and linen services have experienced similar increases.

To increase the numbers of beds available in only two weeks, the Hodja Inn staff worked with squadron and wing leaders to reconfigure existing lodging rooms for additional beds and also convert housing units into lodging assets.

The Sultan's Inn staff immediately increased its food inventory, shortened its menu, changed the two serving lines to offer the same items, offered canned soda to eliminate drink-station bottlenecks and doubled the cashier stations.

"This operation is succeeding more than ever before. This is why we're here," said Lincoln Breckenridge, Sultan's Inn superintendent. "We still exceed Air Force standards in menu options, and now we're serving almost half of the meals served in (U.S. Air Forces in Europe) dining facilities."

If needed, the services staff is ready to stand up two or three more dining facilities and double or triple bed-down facilities.

The new facility is called "Motel 39" after a recommendation from Staff Sgt. Roy Robinson, the noncommissioned officer in charge of 39th SVS. He said the name acknowledges all the people within the 39th Wing who made the facility idea a reality.