Oct. 4, 2011

Gate City-based Transportation Company competes in national food service competition

By Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen   
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Soldiers from the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group prepared a lunch meal Oct. 1 at Fort Pickett for the national-level Philip A. Connelly Awards for Excellence in Army Food Service in the Army National Guard Field Kitchen Category. Virginia is one of seven regional winners competing for the national-level award.

 

Soldiers from the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group serve the lunch meal Oct. 1 at Fort Pickett during the Phillip A. Connelly Awards for Excellence in Army Food Service. The Soldiers spent the week at Fort Pickett preparing for the annual competition. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos on Flickr.

The Soldiers set up several tents around the mobile kitchen trailer where they spent a week preparing for the competition. In addition to preparing and serving food, the Soldiers also had an area where they could wash dishes, focus on field sanitation and an area for dining during the meal.

The Soldiers spent long hours preparing for the actual evaluation. Leading up to the evaluation the Soldiers made sure everything they did was exactly as the regulations specified. According to Master Sgt. Gregory Mason, state food advisor, the Soldiers put in several 18-20 hour shifts in preparation for the competition.

“They are doing well,” said Mason. “It’s mostly field feeding by the regulations. They are following their armed forces recipe card, and making sure the times and temperatures are correct. The field sanitation teams know their diseases and the maintenance folks know how to do the proper preventive maintenance checks and services on all the equipment, on the burners, the generators and the sanitation centers.”

 

Col. Timothy Williams, commander of the 329th Regional Support Group, washes his hands before dining on the lunch prepared by Soldiers Oct. 1 from the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group during the national-level Phillip A. Connelly Awards for Excellence in Army Food Service at Fort Pickett. The Soldiers have already won at the regional level of the competition, qualifying them for the national level. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos on Flickr.

The Phillip A. Connelly Award is a Department of the Army food service program. The International Food Service Executives Association and the Department of the Army co-sponsor the program administered by the Army Center of Excellence, Subsistence. The program achieves improvements in the quality of food service by inspiring competition to adhere to regulations and guidelines.

The Connelly competition uses a point system to determine the winner. Each competing unit begins with a set amount of points and that number decreases throughout the grading.

“You start out with a thousand points, and if it’s something you have done wrong, you lose a point,” said Mason. “Whoever ends up with the highest points will win the nationals.”

The food service section competes in a number of areas including food preparation, taste, nutrition, service and sanitation. The Soldiers will learn the results of the competition in December or January. Soldiers from the 1032nd won the award four times including back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009.

 “It’s a very important event,” said Lt. Col. Doyle Gillis, 1030th Transportation Battalion commander. “It puts us in competition with the rest of the nation, not just in the Guard, but against active duty and the Reserves as well. It shows we can hold our own against any active duty unit.

“I feel like these Soldiers have done a magnificent job here. They have worked 20 plus hour days for the past week to prepare for this thing and there is no doubt that we will set the standard.”

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