CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., -- Sometimes the big picture isn’t always easy to see, and that can cause due recognition to be swept under the rug. Food Service Marines know this all too well; but when the field operation is running too long and everyone starts getting hungry, they quickly start to look like super heroes.
The Marines of Food Service Co., Headquarters Regiment, 1st Marine Logistics Group, recently competed against other major subordinate commands and earned the opportunity to represent I Marine Expeditionary Force on Feb. 22, 2016, where they were evaluated for a chance to win the Maj. Gen. William Pendleton Thompson Hill Memorial award.
The intent of the W.P.T. Hill award is to recognize the best active duty field mess, the best reserve field mess, the best Marine mess hall and the best contracted mess hall, said Lieutenant Col. Gary Spinelli, Director of the Food Service Subsistence Program at Headquarters Marine Corps. Knowing what was on the line, the Marines worked diligently to prepare the meal they would be graded on. From main course to salad and dessert, everything was well planned and executed by the book. The end result was a complete meal that would not only be tasted by the judges, but feed the masses of hungry Marines in the field.
The Marines were evaluated on every phase of food service from preparation to clean-up by representatives from Headquarters Marine Corps and a military corporate chef from the National Restaurant Association. The evaluation included 11 different aspects of food service that summed up their overall performance in delivering a timely, nutritious, and sanitary meal.
Competing for this award serves as a culminating event to the hard work they’ve done all year, explained Spinelli.
“The benefit here is truly for the Marines,” said Spinelli. “this gives them an opportunity to break out their field gear and really showcase what they can do.”
Since 1985 when the W.P.T. Hill award was created, it has come to hold serious value among food service Marines.
“Other Marines sometimes downplay food service Marines because they don’t know exactly what we do,” said Sgt. Cindy Argueta, a chief cook in Food Service Co. “For us, this is when Marines that really care put all their heart into their products and actually show what their capable of.”
Overall the Marines seemed calm and confident in their skills and accepted both the praise and constructive criticism they received.
“They’re looking good,” said Spinelli. “What makes somebody really shine through, or not, is their ability to come together and function well as a team.”
The Marines will have to wait until May 15th when the awards ceremony in Chicago takes place to find out where they landed among the competition.
The experience gained by Argueta and her Marines is something that she said is worth it, win or lose.