Spc. Daniel L. Savolskis
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Army News Service, Dec. 19,
1997) -- Supporting troops has long been a grueling and often
thankless job. Feeding soldiers is no different. Everyone is a
critic when it comes to meals -- unless those meals are award
Soldiers of the 528th Special Operations Support
Battalion (Airborne) Dining Facility continued to prove their
excellence, competing at the Department of the Army level in the
30th annual Philip A. Connelly Award for large dining facilities.
"The soldiers love the competition," said Sgt. 1st Class Darnell King, dining facility manager. "We keep a high standard here. What they do for the competition is what they do every day."
A three-member team evaluated the facility, which serves more than 200 soldiers per meal. The members of the team were Leo Slag from the International Food Service Executives Association, Chief Warrant Officer Jeff Moore and Master Sgt. Eladio Alicea-Cruz, both representing the quartermaster at Fort Lee, Va. The 528th dining facility has competed three times for the award, garnering first runner-up at the DA level during 1995.
"This level of the competition is probably the toughest," Moore said. "Each year it is more difficult to separate the competitors because there is constant improvement."
The 528th dining facility was one of eight in the army-wide competition. An evaluation team visits each facility, selecting a winner and runner-up for the award.
Established during March 1968, the award recognizes excellence in Army Food Service. It was named for the late Phillip A. Connelly, former president of the International Food Service Executives Association. He was responsible for obtaining the association's sponsorship of the program.
"We see the best of the best during this trip," Slag said. "I take pictures of the competition to take back to work. They show the high quality of Army facilities, some of which could easily compete with many civilian facilities and win. What these facilities accomplish is really quite impressive."
The true test for dining facilities comes during mealtime.
"I eat here every day for lunch," said Cpl. Derek Fontaine, 51st Signal Battalion (Airborne). "It's definitely the best chow hall on post and certainly one of the best I've ever eaten at."
(Editor's note: Savolskis is a writer at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command's Public Affairs Office at Fort Bragg, N.C.)
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