Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Consolidated Dining Facility earned first place in the military garrison category of the 2012 Philip A. Connelly Award for Excellence in Army Food Service.
The Connelly awards program, co-sponsored by the Army and the International Food Service Executives Association, recognizes excellence in Army food service from top performing units in three categories: military dining facilities, civilian dining facilities and active Army field kitchens.
Earning a Connelly at the Army level is a tremendous accomplishment, said Lt. Col. Brian D. Lejeune, chief of Supply and Services in the U.S. Army Europe logistics directorate.
For food service specialists, it’s testament to the hard work and long hours they spend preparing meals and an honor that signifies that they are the best in their career field, Lejeune added.
“This has been a long run, and we’ve been working hard since Day One, but it was worth it,” said Sgt. 1st Class Javier Gonzalez, the food operations management noncommissioned officer for the winning dining facility, located on Panzer Kaserne.
Connelly officials say promoting and improving Army food service are the two basic objectives of the program, and are accomplished by encouraging and recognizing deserving units for their superb performance while providing awareness with morale-boosting incentives, competition and media attention.
The evaluation process for this year’s awards took place from March through June, with dining facilities judged on multiple areas including sanitation, nutrition, record keeping and food preparation procedures.
Lejeune said the competition has a greater value than awards. The training and preparation that units undergo in the process of competing forces young food service Soldiers to improve their skills to a much higher level, he said.
The 1-10th DFAC Food Operations Management NCO agreed.
“Being recognized for what you do for a living is great. All the long nights were worth it,” said Gonzalez. This year’s winners will receive their awards in March at a ceremony in San Diego, Calif.