MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the Combat Center Feb. 23 to officially open and dedicate building 1660 as Littleton Hall, in honor of the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Herbert A. Littleton.
The president of Korte Construction Company, Todd Korte, and the Combat Center’s commanding general, Brig. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, were on hand to cut the ribbon in front of Littleton Hall and welcomed guests inside for a full view of the new messhall.
Korte Construction Company was awarded the military construction contract in March 2004 for $11.2 million. The first meal in the new messhall was served Feb. 13.
The former Littleton Hall, building 1650, was demolished last winter to make way for the new structure. Buildings 1610 and 1630 will be demolished in the spring to make way for other structures on base.
“Littleton Hall is the second super messhall built at the Combat Center,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin M. Norton, resident officer-in-charge of construction. “It consolidates three smaller and outdated mess halls into one facility.”
In the past, there were six messhalls aboard the Combat Center. Each had plumbing and drainage problems, were unable to meet capacity demands, had unreliable electrical and mechanical systems and had extensive corrective maintenance requirements, costing the Combat Center hundreds of thousands of dollars, said Norton.
Joel Voneida, logistics director, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, and former Combat Center facilities maintenance department planning officer, conceived the plan 10 years ago for the two messhalls, 1460 and 1660, to replace the original six messhalls built in the 1950s.
“The old messhalls facilitated only two-thirds of the capacity and cost about $300,000 to maintain,” said Voneida. “The new messhalls are able to meet the capacity needs and only costs two-thirds of that amount to maintain.”
“Littleton Hall has the ability to serve up to 2,000 Marines and Sailors per hour,” he explained. “Every detail of this facility was designed to get Marines in and out as fast as possible.”
To accommodate service members throughout the day, Littleton Hall has a carryout side located at a separate entrance of the building. The carryout side is open non-stop from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Physical training uniforms are authorized to be worn in the carryout side and at the picnic tables outside. This is great for those who miss regular messhall hours due to conflicting schedules, said Voneida.
More than 560 troops can be seated in the main service area, 40 in the carryout side, and 40 can be seated at the picnic tables outside.
The messhall wasn’t built for fast service alone; the interior design makes the mess hall an enjoyable eating environment. There are 13, 42-inch flat screen televisions, durable decorative carpeting and Marine Corps murals throughout the building.
The hours for the main messhall are: breakfast from 5:30 a.m. to 8 a.m., lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and dinner from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., during the week. Weekend hours are from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., for brunch, and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., for dinner.