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Cooks in the Camp Jackson Dining Facility have their hands inspected for cleanliness by Kim Do Pung prior to the lunch meal on Thursday.
Cooks in the Camp Jackson Dining Facility have their hands inspected for cleanliness by Kim Do Pung prior to the lunch meal on Thursday. (Greg L. Davis / S&S)
Cooks in the Camp Jackson Dining Facility have their hands inspected for cleanliness by Kim Do Pung prior to the lunch meal on Thursday.
Cooks in the Camp Jackson Dining Facility have their hands inspected for cleanliness by Kim Do Pung prior to the lunch meal on Thursday. (Greg L. Davis / S&S)
A message carved into a watermelon greets patrons of the Camp Jackson Dining Facility.
A message carved into a watermelon greets patrons of the Camp Jackson Dining Facility. (Greg L. Davis / S&S)

SEOUL — Camp Jackson’s dining facility staff members knew they had an excellent establishment. Now, they have the award to back it up.

The facility earned a second-place finish in the large garrison category of the Phillip A. Connelly Awards Program, an Army-wide food competition.

“We think it’s great, and we’re all pretty excited,” said manager William Rath.

No U.S. soldiers work there: Rath supervises 29 contracted South Korean employees. “A lot of people have stopped by to congratulate us and to pat us on the back.”

The Jackson outfit serves the 8th Army’s noncommissioned officer academy and KATUSA, Korean Augmentee to the U.S. Army, training center.

This was the Jackson staff’s second straight appearance in the Connelly award program. They didn’t place last year.

“It’s hard to tell what you did wrong or right,” said Rath. “They really didn’t say, that’s the difficulty.”

Warrant Officer Peter Mortrynczuk of the Army’s Center of Excellence, Subsistence at Fort Lee, Va., was part of the three-man team that inspected the operation in early December.

He told Stars and Stripes they were impressed with how well the staff presented a 40-year-old facility.

“They’ve taken an old building and done a lot to make it feel like a dining room, someplace that’s comfortable to eat in,” he told Stripes. “That shows a lot of support from the command.”

Rath and Kim Chae-kyu, his shift leader, are traveling to Dallas for the Joint Services Excellence in Food Service Awards on April 12.

Rath said he’s excited and hopes to learn enough to push his facility into the No. 1 spot next year.

“They’ve got a lot of seminars,” he said.

“Everything from culinary arts and food networking to sanitation and managerial skills.

“There is going to be a lot of experience there. I’ll be listening and learning from them.”

“The food service staff deserves special recognition for their contribution toward improving the Army’s food service program, and for their superior efforts in enhancing the quality of food service provided to our Army’s soldiers,” said officials from the U.S Army Quartermaster Center and School, Army Center of Excellence.

“All finalists displayed high standards of excellence, were very competitive and are congratulated for their outstanding performances.”

While the award and recognition are nice, Rath is happiest for the troops.

“Better overall service and quality,” Rath said. “That’s what this means for them.”

Excellence in Army food service

Field Kitchen

1st — 8th Ordnance Company, 1st Corps Support Command mobile kitchen team.

2nd — Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 1st Armor Division/V Corps, Friedburg, Germany.

Small Garrison

1st — 16th Corps Support Group Dining Facility of V Corps in Hanau, Germany.

2nd — Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th COSCOM, Fort Hood, Texas.

Large Garrison

1st — Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Infantry Brigade, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Carson, Colo.

2nd — NCO Academy, Camp Jackson, Korea.

Army Reserve

1st — 75th Combat Support Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

2nd — 900th Quartermaster Company, El Paso, Texas.

Army National Guard

1st — 995th Maintenance Company of the Kansas Army National Guard, Smith Center, Kan.

2nd — Headquarters, 50th Personnel Service Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard, Lawrenceville, N.J.

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