Field kitchen competition heats up

Master Sgt. Derrick Crawford
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***Having already cooked up the title as the best field kitchen operation
in U.S. Army Europe, the 29th Support Group’s food services team feels
they have brought home the bacon.

Now, they look to bring home the whole pig by winning the Department of
the Army’s Phillip A. Connelly Award for food service excellence in a
field environment.

The five-person team, with the help of nearly 50 Soldiers, have set up
a field site and prepared for weeks to host a group of evaluators from
the Army Center of Excellence and Subsistence, Fort Lee, Va., Tuesday.
The evaluators, a DA civilian equivalent in rank to a brigadier
general, a chief warrant officer 5, and a sergeant major, are judging
all aspects of the field operation – from perimeter security and
accounting procedures to sanitation.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert Sparks of the 21st Theater Support
Command logistics staff, who heads up the command’s competition, called
Connelly “the Super Bowl of food services.”

Based on past competitions, Sgt. 1st Class Brian Griffin, NCO in charge
of the 29th SG’s Connelly team, knows their success hinges upon how
well they have paid attention to details like having the required
distance between the mobile kitchen trailer and sanitation center.

The site, constructed in the heavily-wooded Rhine Ordnance Barracks
training area, resembles a small military compound of camouflaged tents
ringed with barbed wire and fighting positions.

“We really did a good job at the USAREUR evaluation. The site was
immaculate,” said Sergeant 1st Class Griffin. “The evaluators want to
see a proper field feeding site. It’s doing all of the little things
that will win this for us.”

The team has used the competition as a training tool to show enlisted
leaders and commanders how to set up a field feeding area, while also
serving them meals. They brought in food service personnel from other
USAREUR units and U.S. Air Force for training.

“The 29th Support Group hasn’t competed in the field kitchen category
in several years, so some people doubted how well we could do,
especially now with part of the unit deployed to Afghanistan, said
Sergeant 1st Class Griffin. “But we are making it happen with the
support of command leaders, and the hard work of the Soldiers.”

The Phillip A. Connelly Award Program is sponsored by the Army Center
of Excellence and Subsistence and the International Food Service
Executives Associa-tion, a group of civilian food service

The program objectives are to improve the professionalism of food
service personnel and provide recognition for excellence in the
preparation and serving of food in Army troop dining facilities and
during field kitchen operations.