CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines from Food Service Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, took home the first prize from the 2010 Marine Corps-wide Maj. Gen. W.P.T. Hill Memorial Award competition and will accept the award at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, May 25.
The Maj. Gen. W.P.T. Hill Award program was established by the Secretary of the Navy in 1985 to recognize the best food service commands in the Marine Corps.
This year’s competition was first judged on the tri-command level where 2nd MLG took the victory over 2nd Marine Division and 2nd Marine Air Wing, making them number one in II Marine Expeditionary Force. Their success allowed them to move on and compete Marine Corps-wide with opponents from I MEF and III MEF, in which they were yet again victorious.
The Marines spent two weeks drawing out plans prior to going to the field. Diagrams were made to determine the set-up of the site and location of the cooking and dining facilities, Gunnery Sgt. Clinton L. Clayton, the former operations chief of Food Service Co. explained.
“The first thing we had to do was reserve a training area for the site,” he said. “Once we had the site it was a matter of putting things in place based on the diagram. Some things changed due to the terrain. We had to move trees out of the way and change the location of our fighting holes and security towers.”
The Marines were in the field from June 20 to Oct. 28, 2009. During this time, two different inspections were conducted for both levels of the competition.
A team of three Marines from Headquarters Marine Corps and a civilian from the National Restaurant Society conducted these inspections.
The Marines were rated on a scale of one to five on several different categories to include camouflage and concealment of the site, flow of traffic to and from the site, the quality and taste of the chow, sanitation, and security.
Because of the gear that is required at the site, the Marines were required to have 24-hour watches, seven days a week.
“For the Marines staying over night for fire watch, it was rough,” said Clayton. “They still had tasks to complete. We had to fill between 3,000 and 4,000 sand bags for the site, so that’s what they did.”
Lance Cpl. Jason P. Foster, a food service specialist who has participated in the competition twice with CLR-27, said despite the long days and nights and constant fire watches, it was all worth it in the end.
“I loved the competition,” Foster said. “I volunteered to leave the chow hall to go to the field just to compete again because I had such a great time last year. For us, as food service, we don’t get a chance to do that stuff very often so it’s good to get out in the air for a while.”
Foster was one of many CLR-27 food service Marines that participated in last year’s competition as well. He said there were many things that the company did differently this year that possibly led to their success.
“When assigning jobs, we played to people’s strengths,” he said. “We were more organized and had a clearer idea about what our mission was. Rather than focusing on the big picture, which can be overwhelming, we set minor goals and milestones to help us build an efficient field mess.”
Chief Warrant Officer 2 David F. Hunley, the commanding officer of the company, will be attending the NRA Show in Chicago to accept the award on behalf of all Marines in Food Service Co.