Food Service Marines compete for award of service excellence
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- The III Marine Expeditionary Force elected food service Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, to represent them in the Maj. Gen. William Pendleton Thompson Hill Memorial Awards Program for Food Service Excellence.
Mess Halls throughout the Marine Corps compete annually for the opportunity to be the best Mess Hall in the Corps.
Established in 1985, the W.P.T. Hill Award’s intent is to improve food service operations and recognize the best Mess Hall in the Marine Corps. Now, with the sponsorship by the National Restaurant Association, both agencies travel and inspect field messes in four different categories: full contracted mess halls, military and contractor’s garrison mess halls, reserve field mess and active field mess.
As part of the event, Lt. Col. Richard Kohler, director of food services for the Marine Corps, and Master Gunnery Sgt. Bryan Velloza, senior enlisted advisor of food services for the Marine Corps, traveled to the station to inspect the MWSS-171 constructed field mess site.
“It’s very important for the(master gunnery sergeant) and I to come out and not only inspect the Marines, but also to talk to them, get to know them and show them what the (military occupational specialty) holds for them in the future,” said Kohler. “An evaluation like this can’t be done on paper. It’s vital for us to see that the Marines can perform their MOS and see that they can handle the austere environment.”
During the evaluation period, MWSS-171’s field mess received judgment on: hygiene, sanitation, supervision and management, site selection, camouflage layout, presentation and cooking skill.
Kohler said that he is very impressed with the effort shown by the competing field messes as they all have obstacles and setbacks to overcome in order to get to the MEF level, adding that he continues to be impressed by the Marines aboard station.
“It’s a very prestigious award that shows the capabilities of a unit, in terms of being able to provide support to Marines on the ground,” said Cpl. Clemente Jimenez, a food service specialist with MWSS-171 and acting chief cook for the evaluation. “We had to be good to be able to represent (III MEF) but now it’s up to us to show that we are the best field mess in the Marine Corps”
According to Jimenez his Marines spent countless hours setting up the temporary field site to feed more than 100 Marine.
“It’s just another day for me and the Marines,” said Jimenez. “We are here to feed Marines.”
Jimenez added that one thing he stressed during the evaluation was for his Marines to keep calm and not let small bumps in the road turn into something more.
“Murphy’s law takes effect during the inspection” said Jimenez. “Things will go wrong for no other reason than because they can, but when we overcome these obstacles it shows how prepared we really are.”
Jimenez stated that he is happy with his Marines’ performance and looks forward to attending the award presentation in Chicago, Ill., May 5 2015.