ABOARD USS CARL VINSON (NWSA) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) won the Capt. Edward Ney Food Service Excellence Award for 1996, aircraft carrier category.
The Ney awards program recognizes outstanding Navy general messes (enlisted messes and galleys) and hospital food service operations.
"I've been here three years and the food has always been outstanding," said Aviation Structural Mechanic (Hydraulics) 3rd Class Sean Sumners. "But, this year, it's the best it's ever been. They always improve the mess decks and the food."
"Improvements to the food came from listening to the crew," said CWO 2 David Anspach, ship's food services officer. "We rewrote all the menus, adding healthy choices like ground turkey and egg beaters (low calorie eggs) to cut the calories and fat."
Many improvements went beyond the food line -- breakfast in the evening for the night shift, ice cream socials and other special meals. Physical improvements to the mess decks were also made -- electronic ovens and infrared heating coils to the serving lines, cappuccino machines, microwaves and dessert refrigerators.
According to Master Chief Mess Management Specialist (SW) Ray Swaffar, of Las Vegas, Nev., installing televisions and karaoke machines boosted morale, and helped transform the mess decks from a "dine-and-dash" chow hall to a place crew members can meet and relax. "Our crew works hard, and they need a place to unwind and relax after their shift is done. Everybody knows we are on a ship, but we tried to improve the atmosphere and give our mess decks more of a restaurant-like look," he said.
The port-side serving line captain, Mess Management Specialist 2nd Class Samuel Parkin, of Coon Rapids, Minn., said, "Every day, the crew consumes about 2,500 pounds of food, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. It takes more than cooking to feed 4,500 people that much food each day. You need proper management, good leadership and teamwork. Good chow makes you feel good. Knowing the crew enjoys the food puts a smile on my face."
Navy News Wire "A" story NWSA2047, dated August 13, 1996.
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