FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Alonzo Powell said he feels like he and his staff at the 82nd Division Special Troops Battalion Dining Facility, or DFAC, have just won the Super Bowl - the Super Bowl of the Army food services, that is.

In December 2009, the 82nd DSTB DFAC and the Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Special Operations Command DFAC were both named 2010 Department of the Army Philip A. Connelly Award winners.

The 82nd DSTB DFAC won the "Large Garrison" category, and the HHC, USASOC DFAC won the "Small Garrison" category. Considering there are only five categories, the fact that two of the winners are from the same post is notable. Another notable fact is that this is the first year that two dining facilities run by civilian contractors not only represented Fort Bragg, but also won. Contractors with North Carolina Food Service manage both facilities.

"It's just such a great feeling," said Powell, manager of the 82nd DSTB DFAC. "This is the highest achievement you can get in the Army food services."

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 DA.

The awards program's stated objective is to "improve the professionalism of food service personnel, thus providing the best quality food service to supported Soldier diners and to provide recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army troop dining facilities and during kitchen operations."

To be considered for the DA-level award, a dining facility must be named the best facility in its category at both the installation and Installation Management Command levels. The 82nd DSTB DFAC and the HHC, USASOC DFAC met the challenge and were named the best on Fort Bragg and the best in the IMCOM-Southeast Region. Each dining facility then competed with the winners from IMCOM's other regions, and Fort Bragg came out on top.

This came as little surprise to David Morton, assistant project manager with NCFS, and Rodney Price, a quality assurance specialist with the U.S. Army Directorate of Logistics.

Both men are retired from the Army and spent their careers in the kitchen. They have also both competed in the Philip A. Connelly Awards and been evaluators during their respective careers.

"Each of the teams at the dining facilities gave 100 percent of their effort for this competition," Price explained. "We have the right to brag because we know what 'right' looks like when it comes to running a dining facility."

Being the best did not come easy, however. Morton said that the staffs at the 82nd DSTB DFAC and the HHC, USASOC DFAC received months of intensive training to prepare for the competition.

"It takes a lot of work to be the best at serving as many Soldiers as are served here on a daily basis," Morton said. "When it comes to preparing for the competition, everyone is a winner. The staff gets great training, which means the Soldiers get great service."

In April, Powell and Alvin Melver, manager of the HHC, USASOC DFAC, will fly, to Reno, Nev., on behalf of their dining facilities, to receive trophies to display at Fort Bragg. Each winner will also receive a Super Bowl-inspired ring commemorating the accomplishment.

"I'm really proud of everything that everyone did to win this award," Powell said. "They worked hard and put out a lot of effort."