Panzer Kaserne dining facility

Sgt. Alex Hull, a food service NCO at U.S. Army Europe's 1st Battalion,10th Speical Forces Group (Airborne) Consolidated Dining Facility, prepares pasta during the facility's evaluation in the Army level of the 2012 Philip A. Connelly Award for Excellence in Army Food Service competition. The facility went on to win the Connelly award in the military garrison category. (U.S. Army photo)

U.S. Army Europe unit's dining facility earns top food service award

By Spc. Joshua Leonard, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs Office
January 6, 2012

HEIDELBERG, Germany — Soldiers from U.S. Army Europe’s 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Consolidated Dining Facility earned top place in the military garrison category of the 2012 Philip A. Connelly Award for Excellence in Army Food Service.

The Connelly awards program, co-sponsored by the Army and the International Food Service Executives Association, recognizes excellence in Army food service from top performing units in three categories: military dining facilities, civilian dining facilities and active Army field kitchens.

Earning a Connelly at the Army level is a tremendous accomplishment, said Lt. Col. Brian D. Lejeune, chief of Supply and Services in the USAREUR logistics directorate (G4). For food service specialists it’s testament to the hard work and long hours they spend preparing meals and an honor that signifies that they are the best in their career field, Lejeune added.

“This has been a long run and we’ve been working hard since day one but it was worth it,” said Sergeant 1st Class Javier Gonzalez, the food operations management NCO for the winning dining facility, located on Panzer Kaserne in Stuttgart, Germany.

Connelly officials say promoting and improving Army food service are the two basic objectives of the program, and are accomplished by encouraging and recognizing deserving units for their superb performance while providing awareness with morale-boosting incentives, competition and media attention.

The evaluation process for this year’s awards took place from March through June, with dining facilities were judged on multiple areas including sanitation, nutrition, record keeping and food preparation procedures. Winners and runners-up are selected in each of the three categories.

Lejeune said the competition has a greater value than awards. The training and preparation that units undergo in the process of competing forces young food service Soldiers to improve their skills to a much higher level, he said.

“Being recognized for what you do for a living is great. All the long nights were worth it,” said Gonzalez.

This year’s winners will receive their awards in March at a ceremony in San Diego, Calif.