News: Fargo Guard cooks excel at regional Army field chow competition
Story by Sgt. 1st Class David Dodds
CAMP GRAFTON TRAINING CENTER SOUTH, N.D. - Food service specialists with a Fargo-based North Dakota National Guard unit breezed through state-level evaluations last week allowing them to move on to a regional competition for best Army field mess section.
That got underway June 24 when judges contracted through the National Guard Bureau arrived on Camp Grafton Training Center South - a remote military reservation near McHenry, N.D. - to begin intensive evaluations of the cooks of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade headquarters company for the national Phillip A. Connelly Excellence in Army Food Service competition.
Sgt. 1st Class Diane Wald, a native of Strasburg, N.D., now living in Bismarck, is the food operations non-commissioned officer for the company.
She said it's amazing how far the unit's cooks have come in short time. The unit has only had a mess section for the past 13 months.
The unit used to contract with local food vendors to provide meals for its soldiers. That changed when the brigade commander told Wald he wanted to bring organic cooks into the unit, and also, compete in the Connelly competition.
"It's been a challenge for our cooks to train for the competition, and at the same time, make sure we are excelling at our primary mission, which is feeding Soldiers," Wald said. "I'm really proud of (the unit cooks). They've stepped up to the challenge and have exceeded all expectations.
The 141st was awarded the state Connelly Award on June 20.
"They were willing to take on the challenge," said Capt. David L. McMahon, 141st MEB headquarters company commander. "Everyone has worked very hard to put their best foot forward and I have tremendous confidence they'll to an exceptional job representing our unit and state as they move ahead."