CAMP PENDLETON, CA, UNITED STATES
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The Food Service Specialist of the Year competition gauges the best of all the Food Service Specialists in the Marine Corps on their overall performance of duties. Out of the thousands of Marines in the military occupational specialty, it is a great honor to even be considered for the award. To make it to the final cut of the competition means the Marine has to be great at preparing dishes and satisfying Marine's hunger.
Sgt. Jonathan C. Duncan, 28, food service specialist 1st Food Service Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, did just that.
Duncan's love for cooking began before he joined the Marine Corps.
"I cooked in a small family restaurant for about two years and it was just something I loved to do," said Duncan, who enlisted in 1999.
When he joined the Marine Corps, Duncan was determined to become a chef. He achieved his goal and now loves his job.
"He enjoys being a cook," said Gunnery Sgt. Stephen D. Martinez, 41, the Marine Liaison for the 14 area chow hall, 1st Food Service Company, CLR-17, 1st MLG. "He is constantly trying to improve himself."
Martinez said he has worked with Duncan for about eight months and can tell that Duncan is a uniquely talented Marine.
When Duncan joined the Marine Corps, he said he was excited to have the opportunity to travel. Since he joined, he has been to Australia, Egypt, Japan, Korea, Kuwait and Iraq.
"Australia was my favorite," said Duncan from Brooklyn, Conn. "The people are very hospitable."
Duncan has been recognized for his dedication with various awards. Besides making it to the final round of the Food Specialist of the Year 2010 competition, he has been presented with Certificates of Commendation and Meritorious Masts. He works hard to not only be a great cook, but also strives to be a great Marine.
"He is a strong leader," said Martinez from Huntington Beach, Calif. "He always accomplishes his missions, Takes good care of his junior Marines and is always looking to improve himself. He definitely wants to train others in the culinary arts as well."
Duncan hopes to become a general's aid in the future and he thinks the job will teach him new skills to help him become an even better chef. After the Marine Corps, Duncan said he plans on opening his own family restaurant.
"He is on the right track," said Martinez. "He's going above and beyond with his training and definitely has a bright future in the Marines."
Wherever Duncan goes in the Marine Corps, or outside of it, his future looks bright. Duncan's dedication and love for the job are almost certainly what put him above nearly every other food service specialist in the Marine Corps in the Food Service Specialist of the Year Award.
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This work, Food service specialist cooks his way to the top, by Cpl Kenneth Jasik, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.