GRAFENWHOER, Germany - Earlier this year, culinary specialists assigned to the 221st Quartermaster Company, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade participated in the 55th annual Phillip A. Connelly Program, a food service award competition, where they not only competed against Army units but also against units from across all branches of the military.
“This competition was basically Army wide, so we weren’t the only team to participate, we were the only team from Germany to participate and be able to bring home the trophy,” said Sgt. Kenyada Lall, a culinary specialist assigned to the 221st Quartermaster Company. “This competition was across all branches, the Air Force, the Marines, the National Guard and Army Reserve brothers and sisters were competing for their sections out there as well.”
The team took home the trophy for their culinary work in a field environment.
“We would start early in the morning and then spend the whole day training, training, training,” said Staff Sgt. Josue Ramirez Perez, a culinary specialist assigned to the 221st Quartermaster Company.
Lall was assigned as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the field sanitation center. He explained his job was to make sure his entire section was set up and functional within an allotted time which was one hour.
“My team set it up within 37 minutes and we had everything fully functional within that time, the sinks the electricity, and had a brief during that time,” said Lall.
The team went through rigorous training in standards and drills in order to achieve this victory.
“For the training area set up, we spent the whole day setting up the field sanitation center,” said Ramirez Perez. “We had to break it down and bring it up, then break it down and bring it up because we only have 30 minutes to set it up during the competition.”
The evaluators would grade them, not just on the execution of their objectives, but also on their teamwork and camaraderie and this team showed how efficient they were as a unit.
“To stand out from the other teams we stuck together, we didn’t just support our own sections, we went around and supported the other teams out there,” said Lall. “Even though I was part of the field sanitation center I went around to the mobile kitchen trailer to help them with the food operation, with setting up the food equipment and helping them cook.”
Lall went on to express that his Soldiers showed that each one was able to take control at a moment's notice, demonstrating leadership qualities, which is extremely important in their role as a Soldier and while mastering of their craft.
“Everything was a team effort, each section had to know everything about the other to support each other,” said Ramirez Perez. “Everything I know, they needed to know, so that’s why we needed those long days of training. It was stressful but we had amazing support.”
Ramirez Perez emphasized that trust within his team was key in this competition. He explained that trust led to motivation and motivation led to great morale, and in the end that’s what helped them through.
“I learned a lot from them, we made it happen, we bonded, we worked together, and this win belongs to them, they put in the work and came out on top.”