Nov. 1, 2010

Danville-based unit competes for national food service award 

By Cotton Puryear
Virginia Department of Military Affairs    

FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Virginia National’s Guard best field kitchen operation competed for national-level honors in the U. S. Army’s 2010 Philip A. Connelly Awards for Excellence in Army Food Service with the preparation of a lunch meal Oct. 30 at Fort Pickett. After being recognized as the best operation of its kind in the state, Soldiers from the Danville-based Headquarters Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team won the regional competition in June, and now they have their sights set on the national award in the field kitchen category.

 

Soldiers from the Danville-based Headquarters Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team prepare a lunch meal Oct. 30 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 six regional winners competing for the national-level award, and the food service section was evaluated in a number of areas including food preparation, taste, nutrition, service and sanitation. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

According to Capt. John Cheatham, commander of the Headquarters Company, the Connelly Awards recognize the “best of the best” among the active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard. Virginia is one of six regional winners competing for the national-level award, and the food service section was evaluated in a number of areas including food preparation, taste, nutrition, service and sanitation. The winners will be announced in early December.

“I think it was an excellent job by the Soldiers of the 429th,” said Sgt. 1st Class Murrill McLean, food operations sergeant for the company. “They did a wonder job, put out a superior product and put forth the effort and showed the desire to go out and win this competition.”
 
The Connelly program is named in honor of Philip A. Connelly, past president of the International Food Service Executives Association, highly regarded as the driving force behind obtaining IFSEA sponsorship for the Department of the Army’s recognition of excellence in Army food service.   

The program is co-sponsored by the Department of the Army and IFSEA. Finalists are evaluated in one of five categories - Small Garrison, Large Garrison, and field kitchens in the Active Army, U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard.

The U.S. Army Center of Excellence and Subsistence (ACES) at Fort Lee and IFSEA evaluators travel around the world to obtain first-hand knowledge of how Army food service personnel perform their jobs.  All the finalists are evaluated in a number of areas including food preparation, taste, nutrition, service and sanitation.

“We prepared ourselves, and through that preparation I saw an esprit de corps amongst my Soldiers that I hadn’t seen before,” Cheatham said.

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