Army Honors Best in Food Service
Staff Sgt. Cedric McCabe and Pvt. 1st Class Celso Santiago-Mejias, 8th Ordnance Company, 1/507th Provisional Battalion, 507th Corps Support Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., accept the winning trophy for the Active Army field kitchen category. McCabe and Santiago-Mejias accepted the award in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday during the Philip A. Connelly Awards ceremony.

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Keeping the Army Strong is a Quartermaster’s bread and butter.

From providing nutritional meals to creating morale boosting environments, food service professionals keep the Army rolling along.

The Philip A. Connelly Awards Program honors those professionals, Soldiers and civilians, who rise above the standards and showcase their strength in solidarity and commitment to quality food service.

This year’s Connelly awardees were honored Saturday in Kansas City, Mo., during the 2007 Joint Services Excellence in Food Services Awards. In front of their respective counterparts in the Marines, Navy, Military Sealift Command and Coast Guard, the 20 awardees representing their units or dining facilities took center stage to accept the coveted Connelly awards.

This is the third year that Madelene Austin has accepted the large garrison runner-up award for the Fort Riley, Kan., Main Post Dining Facility.

“It is a very high honor to return to the Connelly Awards ceremony and represent my installation and the Army,” said Austin.

Among the other Connelly categories are the small garrison, Active Army field kitchen, Reserve field kitchen and National Guard field kitchen. The awards program, established in 1968, was named for the late Philip A. Connelly, former president of the International Food Service Executives Association. The program is co-sponsored by the Department of the Army and IFSEA. The program is managed by the Army Center of Excellence, Subsistence at the Quartermaster Center and School.

The awardees were selected by a DA level evaluation committee who traveled around the Army critiquing the competitors in areas such as food preparation, taste, nutrition, service and sanitation.

“The evaluators looked at every aspect of our food service operation,” said Sgt. Shedrick Swain. “The key to our success was how we performed as a team.”

Swain accepted the Active Army field kitchen runner-up award on behalf of his unit, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 501st Sustainment Brigade, 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Camp Carroll, Korea.

Whether in a dining facility or a field environment, all of the awardees agreed that teamwork was the key ingredient in their recipe for success.

“Teamwork places a major role in the Connelly program. Accomplishments at this level can not be achieved without it,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ernest Smith Jr., Company D, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, Virginia Army National Guard.

For Reservist, Sgt. 1st Class James Duff, the Connelly experience isn’t just about the trophies. “The program showcases to the world that Army food service professionals are dedicated to the mission and to our customer — the American Warrior.”

And the winners of the 2007 Philip A. Connelly Awards are…..

Small Garrison Dining Facility:

Winner: 1st Special Forces Group Dining Facility, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Runner-Up: Outstanding Cafe, 44th Signal Battalion, Mannheim, Germany

Large Garrison Dining Facility:

Winner: 507th Corps Support Group (Airborne), 1st Sustainment Command (Theater), Fort Bragg, N.C.

Runner-Up: Main Post Dining Facility, Fort Riley, Kan.

Active Army Field Kitchen:

Winner: 8th Ordnance Company, 1/507th Provisional Battalion, 507th Corps Support Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.

Runner-Up: Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 501st Sustainment Brigade, 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Camp Carroll, Korea

U.S. Army Reserve Field Kitchen:

Winner: 308th Transportation Company, Lincoln, Neb.

Runner-Up: 535th Military Police Battalion, Camp Butner, N.C.

U.S. Army National Guard Field Kitchen:

Winner: 367th Maintenance Company, Mississippi Army National Guard

Runner-Up: Company D, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, Virginia Army National Guard