1st Sgt. Michael Jones, right, and 1st Sgt. Mark Haliburton line up for lunch last week at the Drill Sergeant School dining facility. The dining hall is currently competing for this year's Philip A. Connelly Awards, which recognizes excellence in food service.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Linda Watson, manager of the Drill Sergeant School dining facility, said she wasn't worried about preparing for her evaluation in this year's Philip A. Connelly Awards. The program is held annually to recognize excellence in the preparation and serving of food in both garrison and field environments, but Watson said the dining facility's staff had done nothing special to prepare for last week's evaluation.

"We don't have to prepare," Watson said. "We do this every day."

The Drill Sergeant School dining facility is representing Fort Jackson in this year's Philip A. Connelly Awards competition. On June 21, a judge visited and evaluated the facility's food preparation, taste, nutrition, service and sanitation.

"I have a total of seven dining facilities I am looking at," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Verona Williams, who visited the dining facility for the Connelly awards program last week. "This is the civilian category, which is unique. This is an outstanding operation."

Williams said last week's evaluation was part of a regional IMCOM Atlantic review. The facility that wins the regional honor will compete in the next phase of the competition, which is Armywide.

John Nelums, quality assurance evaluator with the Directorate of Logistics, said the results of last week's evaluations should be known by July 20.

"The finest dining facilities compete for this annually," Nelums said. "This year, in the contract category, the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School has been nominated to compete against all of the other contracted facilities throughout the world. It's like the Super Bowl."

Nelums said Fort Jackson's dining facilities are among the best in the Army, in part because of recent improvements made to nutritional programs.

"We're trying to upgrade all of the dining facilities throughout the Army," he said. "We're going through a reformation. It happens about once every 50 years, and it was just time for us to move forward."

In 2008, the 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment DFAC was named best large garrison DFAC Armywide by the Phillip A. Connelly Awards, the first time in the program's history the post has received this honor. The Philip A. Connelly Awards Program is governed by the Army Food Service Program, and co-sponsored by the International Food Service Executives Association and the Department of the Army.

Page last updated Fri June 29th, 2012 at 09:59