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Military dining facilities are an essential part of any military base camp or forward operating site (FOS). They’re typically deployable and serve as a safe space protected from the elements for troops to rest, eat, and socialize during mealtimes or group gatherings. 

Military DFAC Meaning: What Is a DFAC?

A military dining facility, also known as DFAC, is an official term of the United States Army and Air Force. Other branches of the military such as the Marines and Navy may also refer to military dining facilities as “chow halls” or “galleys.” 

A DFAC is a designated space where meals are served to soldiers and various military personnel. 

Soldiers in the Army are often put on duty as kitchen patrol while kitchen staff cook, prepare, and serve large quantities of food to troops. You’ll typically find a cafeteria-style serving area in a DFAC with groupings of tables and chairs for troops to sit and eat.


[Related: U.S. Marines Can Benefit From Highly Portable Fabric Buildings]


Amenities Necessary for a Military DFAC

Mobile Field Kitchens and Containerized Kitchen Units

Most military bases require modular kitchen facilities to prepare and cook food served in a DFAC. Mobile field kitchens, also known as a battle kitchen (BK), can feed up to three meals per day to 300 military personnel, or between 100 to 200 troops. 

 Packed mobile field kitchen from Alaska Defense.

A BK is typically connected to a trailer with a mount and transported using a military vehicle such as a light-medium tactical vehicle (LMTV). These are great assets for remote military operations, field training sites, or even disaster zones because they’re easy to pack up and relocate.

A deployed mobile field kitchen from Alaska Defense.


Alaska Defense (Alaska)™ offers mobile field kitchens that have attach points for helicopter lifts if troops are in disaster areas or deployed in remote locations. A BK uses either solid fuel or liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and is configured with 272,000 British thermal unit (BTU) burners, as well as stainless steel counters and cooktops.

A containerized kitchen unit (CK) is another type of mobile kitchen facility for meal preparation and cooking. Combining multiple CKs can form a modular kitchen setup. A CK with four units from Alaska Defense can serve up to 2,000 meals per day. 

A row of containerized kitchen units from Alaska Defense placed adjacent to a DFAC.



Interior of a containerized kitchen unit from Alaska Defense.

Additionally, a CK features more appliances than a BK. These can include a grill, fry, and boil and bake systems alongside steel countertops. The containerized kitchen unit can be equipped with an HVAC system, exhaust hoods, fire suppression systems, dry storage, refrigeration, and much more.

Whether you have a BK or CK, they’re usually connected to a DFAC or installed right next to it. 

Handwashing Stations 

The handwashing stations within CKs are prioritized for military personnel assigned to clean, prepare, and cook food. Soldiers and other various military members not involved in food preparation benefit from their own handwashing stations within the DFAC.

Alaska Defense provides portable handwashing stations, which are easy to install within our military shelter systems and use water from local water sources or nearby water bladders. 

A four-sink handwashing station installed inside of an expeditionary latrine facility from Alaska Defense.


[Related: A Few Applications of Our Structures]


Fabric Structures for DFACs

Fabric structures are the ideal building solution to use for a military DFAC. They’re rapidly deployable and feature an unmatched strike capability when orders to relocate are received.  

The AK40 and AK30 military shelter systems from Alaska Defense are commonly used as dining facilities on military bases and forward operating sites. They utilize tensioned fabric membranes and high-strength metal frame systems to provide a safe space protected from extreme weather conditions.  

The AK40 is a 40’ wide military shelter with a peak height of 20’ and lengths from 30’ to 120’. The AK30 is a Multipurpose Shelter System (MSS) and features a width of 30’, a peak height of 15’, and is configurable to lengths from 32.5′ to 65′. 

The AK40 military shelter from Alaska Defense used as a DFAC.

30’ wide Alaska Military Shelter with an Alaska ECU® attached.

The AK40 and the AK30 can be equipped with an optional window and door packages, as well as interior lighting and electrical systems, flooring systems, ECUs, and power generation and distribution systems.

Having rapidly deployable dining facilities that can accommodate various numbers is an important military base feature since troop sizes are always changing. Military shelters from Alaska Defense are easily complexed to create larger dining facilities. 


[Related: Main Benefits of High-Grade Military Tents]


Feed the Troops with Alaska Defense’s Fabric Structures

For more information about military DFACs, mobile field kitchens, and containerized kitchen units, contact Alaska Defense by completing our online inquiry form.

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