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July 13, 2012

Training

Combat support hospital participates in Connelly competition at Fort McCoy

By Lt. Col. Etta J. Phillips, Officer in Charge/Chief Dietitian, 256th Combat Support Hospital

The 256th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) participated in the 45th annual Philip A. Connelly Award Program for Excellence in Food Service competition at the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) level during training at Fort McCoy June 24. The competition was part of the Badger Medic Exercise, which was hosted by the Regional Training Site (RTS)-Medical Fort McCoy.
PHOTO: Members of the 256th Combat Support Hospital of Columbus, Ohio, competed in the Philip A. Connelly food service competition. Contributed photo
Members of the 256th Combat Support Hospital of Columbus, Ohio, competed in the Philip A. Connelly food service competition during training in Badger Medic at Fort McCoy. (Contributed photo)

This is the second of a three-year competition for A Company, 256th CSH. The company garnered first-place honors at the 807th Medical Deployment Support Command (MDSC) in 2011.

The Philip A. Connelly Award Program consists of three levels of competition: division level, USARC level, and the Department of the Army (DA) level.

The top-four finishers at the USARC level will advance to the DA level. DA-level participants compete against all branches of the Army (National Guard, Active Duty and Army Reserves).

The criteria for this competition includes: an evaluation of culinary skills, administrative review, field site set-up, diner feedback, food-service worker professionalism and communication, time management, field-sanitation practices and command support. Each level of the competition requires increased sharpening of skills.

Chief Warrant Officer (CW) 2 William Goebel, the 807th G4 Food Program Manager, provided guidance and tutoring in preparation for the USARC-level competition. Preparation for the USARC level takes months of focused practice and fine-tuning of culinary skills, he said.

An exceptional knowledge of food-service regulations is required. Precise timing while preparing the meal is the key to attaining the highest score.

According to Goebel, “It takes practice, practice and more practice to win. It is essential to have a food service CW2 or higher to assure all areas of the competition are covered and well-prepared for a hopeful win.”

Aimee Carrington, an RTS-Medical instructor at Fort McCoy, conducted the Applied Food Safety and Protection Course (68M) and the Field Sanitation Team Training several months ago in preparation for this event. Certifications are required for each group.

All items on the menu were made from scratch.

Some of the menu items included: egg drop soup, sweet and sour chicken, Lyonnais rice, vegetable stir fry and pineapple upside down-cake. Two Connelly evaluators enjoyed and commended all of the menu items for their flavor and quality.

The 256th CSH Connelly Team consisted of: a nutrition and food services officer in charge (OIC), a noncommissioned OIC; a first cook, kitchen police (KP) personnel and a field sanitation team.

The Connelly Competition, although focused on food service, is a unit event. Prior to preparing to cook at the field site, the Preventive Medicine section completed a thorough inspection. 1st Sgt. Richard Bryant and Company Commander Maj. John Davis assured the dining tent was set up, KP personnel were scheduled, a head count was provided, and unit training schedules were aligned for meal times. The 322nd (sister unit of the 256th CSH) was supported with meals during this event.
The scoring checklist allows a maximum score of 1,000 points. Points are deducted during the evaluation for various deficiencies.

Command support is expected and is a major component of the evaluation. Command presence included 256th CSH Commander Col. Philip R. Good and Command Sgt. Maj. Donnie Montgomery; 307th Medical Brigade Commander Col. Donna Hershey and Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Jensen; and from the 807th MDSC, Goebel and Command Sgt. Maj. David Davis.

The 256th CSH falls under the 307th, which is aligned with the 807th MDSC. The 807th MDSC is the largest of the three medical commands in USARC. It is comprised of 147 Army Reserve medical units, spanning a range of 26 states. Its food-service Soldiers include 68M Soldiers (nutrition care specialists, including clinical nutrition trainers) and 92Gs (food service specialists).

Results of the USARC competition will be available in three to four months.

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