By Spc. Marcus Fichtl, 8th Military Police Brigade Public AffairsJune 25, 2012
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii--"Let the food speak for itself."
Not words of bravado from Spc. Antonio Graham, cook, Forward Support Company, 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., but rather confidence, the secret ingredient served in every dish, at every meal, and every day at the 45th Sustainment Brigade Consolidated Dining Facility K-Quad as they prepare for the 2012 Phillip A. Connelly Large Dining Facility USARPAC results to be announced July 15.
The Phillip A. Connelly competition recognizes excellence in the preparation and serving of food and showcases the professionalism of food service personnel.
In the heart of the K-Quad kitchen a Soldier may have the crest from any of the three brigades in the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, engineer, sustainment or military police crest but their mission is the same, serve their fellow Soldiers.
And with 25000 meals served a month, there is easing, there are no breaks.
But there is drive.
"We work on our craft every day," said Graham. "We practice, we see ourselves progress and we push even harder."
And in the drivers seat Sgt 1st Class Billie Jean Afflick, dining facility manager, who serves the inspiration her Soldiers need.
"I love what I do, my Soldiers see that," said Afflick. "They feed off of me and I feed off of them."
During the course of her tenure as dining facility manager, Afflick developed new and innovative menus and managed to maintain a fully functional kitchen. Even when the three brigade's her Soldiers belonged to would pull them away and many times when the dining facility needed them most.
Moments of tension that could break the steady hum of the average kitchen, but not the K-Quad's kitchen. When one Soldier goes down the rest pick up the slack. No questions asked
"Regardless of what happens we stand tall and that says a lot about this building," said Graham. "We clash, but we always, always stay and fight."
In what the Soldiers of K-Quad call the Olympics of food service -- Thanksgiving being the Super Bowl -- they rest easy regardless of the outcome, they know they represent the best the military has in warrior chefs.
"Even if we don't win, we already won, said Graham. "The amount of hours, the amount of pride we put in every day, you cant take that away."
"Each Soldier is showing their skill, and they are proud of their skill and they want to show it to the Army," said Afflick.
Personal pride and dedication are the ethos of the k-Quad dining facility, but two simple words is all the Soldiers need to hear that they've done their job -- Connelly award or not.