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Military Police Battalion in District of Columbia Establish Kosher Mess Facility

Some 30 members of the 171st military police battalion of the District of Columbia National Guard have set up what may be the first kosher mess hall in the history of the U.S. armed forces. The facility, in an interfaith chapel, was obtained through the efforts of battalion commander Maj. Robert Donlon, and Capt. Walter Gummelt, battalion chaplain, who is a Baptist minister. Maj. Donlon said, “We’re happy to be able to do something for our Jewish troops because we often have to train on their Sabbath.” The soldiers said they will contribute their own money to buy kosher food. One is 2nd Lt. Robert Atkins, a Negro who converted to Judaism. Specialist 4th class Neil Seidman volunteered to cook for the mess. The observant Guardsmen will take their lunch and dinner there but will breakfast in the regular mess hall.