Story and photo by Sgt. Khori Johnson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Food service specialists across Fort Carson are working together to create a field dining experience worthy of earning first place in the Philip A. Connelly Awards program, a competition that recognizes excellence in field kitchen operations and food service.
Constructing a field kitchen site, complete with sanitation tent, dining area and a trailer-mounted, containerized field kitchen, the team has trained nearly every day since May in preparation for the U.S. Army Forces Command level of the competition.
The daily operation of the field kitchen site is centered on the basic elements of food service, such as sanitation, meal preparation and creating an overall positive atmosphere for Soldiers to enjoy, said Sgt. Albert Fuentes, training noncommissioned officer, 60th Ordnance Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade,
“We’re here to feed Soldiers,” said Fuentes. “We try to give them a relaxing environment to have a nutritional meal, so they can head back to training or back to their current mission.”
Fuentes, along with the Fort Carson team noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Staff Sgt. Christian Deane from Group Service Support Company, Group Support Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), built the team from the best food service specialists from across the post to represent the “Best Hometown in the Army.”
The Philip A. Connelly Awards program was established in 1968 to recognize superiority in Army food service among servicemembers and civilians. The competition was named after Philip A. Connelly, former president of the International Food Service Executives Association.
Preparing for the arrival of FORSCOM representatives to evaluate the kitchen site, the team’s ability to adapt and overcome has been tested multiple times, overcoming growing pains and dealing with poor weather.
“We’ve had weather kind of beat up the field site a couple of times,” said Pfc. Michael Hatton, food
service specialist, GSSC, GSB, 10th SFG(A). “Rain, wind … we’ve learned to adapt to pretty much anything.”
Through extensive field training, adaptability and teamwork, the Fort Carson team stands ready to take on the other seven teams within FORSCOM, vying for first place against rival teams from Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Bragg, N.C.
If the Fort Carson team places first at the FORSCOM level of the competition, they will move on to represent the Mountain Post at the Department of the Army Philip A. Connelly Awards program.
“We’ve been working together extremely well,” said Hatton. “I’m pretty confident (in our team).”