News: NC Guard Soldiers compete for best cook honors
FORT PICKETT, Va. - Soldiers of the North Carolina National Guard’s 690th Brigade Support Battalion located in Kinston, N.C., represented the state at the 47th Annual Philip A. Connelly Awards Program for excellence in food service during July’s Annual Training at Fort Pickett, Virginia.
The 690th's food service section won at the state level with their spaghetti with meat sauce, vegetable soup, Parmesan broccoli, garlic bread, salad, and peach cobbler and may advance to the Department of Army level competition in October and December 2014.
Connelly Evaluators presented the food services section, supply sergeant, and logistics section with a Certificate of Achievement for attaining “Best in the state” during field operations. This is more than praise for a fine meal prepared in difficult conditions but recognition of the unit’s preparation for the competition.
“From the time the team starts until the end of the meal, each food service specialist improves on what they know and they also learn more procedures and techniques. That’s what the Connelly is about,” said Connelly Evaluator William Nickels.
The journey to reach this level of competition began a little over a year ago. The food service section trained during numerous drill weekends prepping for the Connelly competition. Leaders invited state Connelly food services representatives to critique the team and to improve their services.
A year of hard work came down to one meal in July. It started off pretty rough with one cook being unable to participate due to an illness. The weather added to the challenge with rain, thunder and lightning. Meanwhile, the cooking staff prepared breakfast and pleaded for the rain to go away, in fears that the competition would be postponed or canceled.
The 690th's cooking staff has been in the field many times and dealt with weather challenges and were unwilling to let the storm ruin their moment. Even though the team was short one cook all deadlines were met and dinner was ready.
A Connelly evaluator, Dave Mitchell, stated that “We were all betting on what time they would finish dinner preparation and the 690th made it on time and that was great.”