NEWS | April 26, 2016

Feeding the Connelly Competition

By Staff Sgt. DALTON Smith 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

“Get on line! Get on line! We have Soldiers to feed!”

Those were the words of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Charles Hunter, command food advisor for the 377th Sustainment Command (Theater), as he organized trays and utensils by the food containers in the Mobile Kitchen Trailer (MKT). The food service specialists were ready to feed an Army.

Luckily, the Army they had to feed were just the Soldiers of their unit, the 733rd Transportation Company, of Reading, Pa.

The U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the 733rd T.C., based out of Reading, Pa., were competing in the annual Philip A. Connelly Award for excellence in Army food service here, April 23, 2016.

“This is the only competition that takes an entire unit, comprised of different Military Occupational Specialties (MOS), to compete,” said Hunter. “It keeps these Soldiers on their feet and ready to react in the field, but also fine tunes their culinary skills.

There are currently 16 other units competing for the U.S. Army Reserve title, the top four will go on to the Department of the Army phase in early 2017.

As a recently trained food service specialist, Staff Sgt. Dan Howard said this is his first time performing outside of a training environment and hopes to learn as much as possible from everyone.

“All of the junior enlisted here are professionals at this from their years of experience,” said Howard. “As a recent graduate, I need to watch and ask as many questions as possible so I can lead them in the future.”

“I can tell they’re under stress from the graders and I constantly motivate them and give them my advice,” said Sgt. Angel Burgos, food service specialist with the 733rd T.C. “Experience is worth more than training.”

Burgos, new to this unit, but not to the career field, served for 3.5 years in the Dining Facility (DFAC) at U.S. Army Garrison Italy. He is only supporting the Soldiers of this competition, not competing. 

“The Soldiers are doing really well so far, especially because they are being asked questions from the U.S. Army Reserve food advisors, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Pamela Null and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kim Shiner,” said Burgos. “I hope we succeed as a team!”