October 14, 2008

1032nd Trans. Co. competes for Army cooking title

By Sgt. Jesse L. Houk
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Joey K. Falls (left) and Spc. Seth Grove (right) of the 1032nd Transportation Company serve 1st Sgt. Ernest T. Miller out of a mobile kitchen trailer.  The mobile kitchen trailer was set up as a requirement of the Connelly Competition for which they were competing. (Photo by Sgt. Jesse L. Houk, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s 1032nd Transportation Company food service section competed in the nationally-recognized Connelly Competition at Fort Pickett Oct 11.

“We competed last year and came in third in the nation,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brian E. Kinkead, a food operation sergeant. “We didn’t plan on doing it again, but we had the opportunity to do it again and all the team wanted to come back and regroup to get the win.”

The Soldiers from the unit will compete against National Guard units from six other regions across the country. They are judged in 11 different categories that range from sanitation to the quality of the food.

The judging committee is comprised of three judges that include Chief Warrant Officer Daniel W. Ormsby, Master Sgt. Derek Rivers and Gary J. Bedsworth, a representative of the International Food Service Executives Association.

The Philip A. Connelly Awards program is a competition that goes beyond the National Guard. In fact it is a competition that goes beyond the Army; the Air Force and Navy are also evaluated in the competition. 

But within the Army there are five categories in which the Connelly Competition takes place. The Army, in association with the International Food Service Executives Association, judges large garrison, small garrison, active Army field kitchen category, the Army National Guard field kitchen category, and the Army Reserves field kitchen category.

The competition is a chance for food service personnel to get a little recognition for their hard work.

Spc. Daniel C. Elswick of the 1032nd Transportation Company supplies drinks for Soldiers during a lunch at Fort Pickett.  The 1032nd Transportation Company was competing in the Connelly Competition. (Photo by Sgt. Jesse L. Houk, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“One thing, if you are a food person, you don’t get a lot of recognition,” said Ormsby.  “The winner and runners-up will go to the military awards ceremony in Atlanta.  There will be a lot of VIPs at the award banquet so this is a great chance for them to be recognized.”

At Fort Pickett, Soldiers from the 1032nd Transportation Company, in compliance with Connelly Competition requirements, set up operations in a field environment and served meals out of a mobile kitchen trailer. The MKTs allow the Soldiers to serve up to 300 people if necessary.   

Although the winners will not be determined until later in the year, Soldiers from the 1032nd did make a good impression.

“The young lady and the men from the 1032nd transportation unit worked as a finely-tuned team,” said Bedsworth. “They worked together, they talked to each other, they shared responsibilities, and they were constantly supplied with by the KP team with pots and pans that they needed in a timely and urgent manner.”

The competition required the assistance from other Soldiers within the company, but regardless of the position of the Solider, the desire to win remained the same.

“I hope to be number one because we are representing the state of Virginia, our region, our unit and ourselves,” said Sgt. Ralph E. Norris, a truck driver in the 1032nd.

“I think they are going to stack up against their competition extremely well,” said Col. Timothy P. Williams, brigade commander for the 329th Regional Support Group. “I certainly hope that they will carry the day. I think they are probably one of the top contenders. But at this rate, to get to this level they are a winner no matter what. I think they can do it.”

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