‘Wings of Lightning’ DFAC earns prestigious DA honors

| October 15, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

Sita Seery (right), acting food program manager, Chief Supply Services and Maintenance Branch, IMCOM-Pacific Region, recognizes food service specialists from the 25th CAB, 25th ID, for their efforts conducting two food service operations simultaneously downrange and at Wheeler Army Airfield. WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — For an Army dining facility and its food service Soldiers, the Phillip A. Connelly Memorial Awards Program is like the Super Bowl and World Series combined into one annual competition.

Food service Soldiers from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division dining facility, here, recently received a Connelly runner-up trophy for small garrison DFACs and a special achievement award at a recognition ceremony that took place, here, recently.

Co-sponsored by the International Food Service Executives Association and the Department of the Army, the program was established in 1968 to improve food service operations and to recognize the best DFACs throughout the Army.

Competition finalists throughout the Army competed in DFAC categories for small garrisons, large garrisons and field kitchens in the active Army, Reserve and National Guard. 

According to Debra Zedalis, region director, Installation Management Command-Pacific Region, finalists were evaluated in a number of areas, including training supervision, DFAC administration, food safety, appearance and attitude of food service personnel, dining area décor, ambiance, equipment and facilities, and food preparation and quality.

25th CAB’s food service Soldiers outscored all competitors except one. However, their recognition wasn’t limited to second-place honors. The 25th CAB was presented with a special achievement award. 

“The special achievement award was given to the 25th CAB to recognize their efforts operating two food service operations simultaneously, both downrange and at home station,” Zedalis said. “The unit’s leadership took the challenge to split their team, so that the home station DFAC could compete in this year’s competition. It was a risky, bold move on the part of the unit, and they were recognized for going that extra 10,000 miles.” 

The extra effort cannot be overstated. The unit was not only splitting food service personnel between Iraq and Hawaii, but also was competing with less than two weeks of preparation after massive facility renovations. 

Additionally, the DFAC competed with inexperienced Soldiers who had arrived directly from Advanced Individual Training.

“This competition was really unique,” said Sgt. 1st Class Toby Vereen, DFAC noncommissioned officer, 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th CAB, who has participated in eight Connelly competitions in his 14-year career. “We not only had to overcome being short-handed – in terms of personnel — and light on experience, but we were also only open for about a week before the competition. 

“I could not be more proud of our young Soldiers,” he said. “Right out of school, they were motivated, willing to learn and met all of our objectives.”

Story and Photo by STAFF SGT. MIKE ALBERTS25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry DivisionWHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — For an Army dining facility and its food service Soldiers, the Phillip A. Connelly Memorial Awards Program is like the Super Bowl and World Series combined into one annual competition.Food service Soldiers from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division dining facility, here, recently received a Connelly runner-up trophy for small garrison DFACs and a special achievement award at a recognition ceremony that took place, here, recently.Co-sponsored by the International Food Service Executives Association and the Department of the Army, the program was established in 1968 to improve food service operations and to recognize the best DFACs throughout the Army.Competition finalists throughout the Army competed in DFAC categories for small garrisons, large garrisons and field kitchens in the active Army, Reserve and National Guard. According to Debra Zedalis, region director, Installation Management Command-Pacific Region, finalists were evaluated in a number of areas, including training supervision, DFAC administration, food safety, appearance and attitude of food service personnel, dining area décor, ambiance, equipment and facilities, and food preparation and quality.25th CAB’s food service Soldiers outscored all competitors except one. However, their recognition wasn’t limited to second-place honors. The 25th CAB was presented with a special achievement award. “The special achievement award was given to the 25th CAB to recognize their efforts operating two food service operations simultaneously, both downrange and at home station,” Zedalis said. “The unit’s leadership took the challenge to split their team, so that the home station DFAC could compete in this year’s competition. It was a risky, bold move on the part of the unit, and they were recognized for going that extra 10,000 miles.” The extra effort cannot be overstated. The unit was not only splitting food service personnel between Iraq and Hawaii, but also was competing with less than two weeks of preparation after massive facility renovations. Additionally, the DFAC competed with inexperienced Soldiers who had arrived directly from Advanced Individual Training.“This competition was really unique,” said Sgt. 1st Class Toby Vereen, DFAC noncommissioned officer, 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th CAB, who has participated in eight Connelly competitions in his 14-year career. “We not only had to overcome being short-handed – in terms of personnel — and light on experience, but we were also only open for about a week before the competition. “I could not be more proud of our young Soldiers,” he said. “Right out of school, they were motivated, willing to learn and met all of our objectives.”

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