Food Service Prize Awarded to Destroyer
USS John McCain Public Affairs
ABOARD THE USS JOHN S. MCCAIN, Arabian Gulf -- While deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the crew of USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) was awarded the 2000 Capt. Edward F. Ney memorial award for outstanding food service in the medium afloat category.
"When the inspectors came, they thought (the messdecks were) astaurant," said supply officer Lt. James T. Thomas, of Starkville, Miss.
Thomas said that his department continuously tries to improve inventory, presentation and atmosphere of the crew's dining spaces.
"We go out of our way to offer variety," he said. "The mess (management) specialists work hard at it and take pride in what they do."
Seaman James Dunne, a mess management specialist, helped cook hush puppies and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches during the inspectors' visit.
"One inspector said it was one of the best galleys he'd been in yet. They were very pleased with the service and the food," Dunne said.
Dunne had arrived on the ship a week before the Ney inspectors came. "I couldn't have gotten here at a better time," Dunne said. "I'm happy I chose this ship and really happy we won the Ney Award."
However a mess specialist is only as strong as his equipment. Thomas was quick to note that winning the Ney was a true team effort. It involved contributions from all departments, especially engineering.
"The engineers did a great job helping us get up to speed to prepare food and improve quality," Thomas said. Dunne agreed. "If it weren't for the engineers, we wouldn't have won."
Seaman John C. Bennett, John S. McCain's food service attendant of the month for January, of Buffalo, New York, who served as a food service assistant when the Ney inspectors came aboard said that they didn't just judge the food.
"They looked at customer service. Not just sanitation, they also watched how we served the food on the plate, our manners and portion control."
Bennett said that he was very happy that the ship was recognized for it quality food service program. "We did it the way you're supposed to do it all the time, everybody pitched in and did a little extra. Everybody came together as a team."
A U.S. 7th Fleet new story, dated March 22, 2000.