FORT HOOD, Texas - As dawn broke on a cool spring morning, soldiers in their outer tactical vests and advanced combat helmet with assigned weapon formed a staggered line outside a mobile kitchen trailer. These soldiers were waiting to do their part in a competition. This competition was not about how well the waiting soldiers did tactically, but how well they are fed.
The food service section of the 67th Forward Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade, was selected to represent the 1st Cavalry Division in the Philip A. Connelly Award program, March 20, and will compete against other units within III Corps.
The Philip A. Connelly Competition was started in 1968, when it was first known as the “best mess” competition, to recognize excellence in the Army’s food service. When the late Philip A. Connelly started the competition, his goal was to improve the quality of Army food, according to the Quartermaster School website.
“I’m just happy to compete and show off my skills against other units in the Army,” Pfc. Anthony Salas, a food service specialist, said.
The soldiers were judged in a number of areas to include sanitation, food presentation and field-site setup. The team received high marks in these areas despite the challenges of the field environment.
The night before the 67th FSC was to be judged, high winds and rain threatened to delay the morning’s breakfast meal.
“High winds took down our dining tent but with help of the unit, we got everything up by serving time,” Sgt. 1st Class Helena Mahkee, senior food service operations sergeant, 67th FSC, said.
After the dining tent was set back up, the only sign of the previous night’s bad weather was the mud left by the rain. Following breakfast the food service team moved into preparing lunch. On the menu was steak, grilled mushrooms and peppers and boiled corn.
The 67th FSC food service section was also judged for the III Corps Connelly Award, March 21. The competition will come to a close April 12, after which the winner will go on to compete at the U.S. Army Forces Command-level of the competition.