A worker fills a lunch order at the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment's dining facility in Hohenfels, Germany.

A worker fills a lunch order at the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment's dining facility in Hohenfels, Germany. (Gerry Arbios / U.S. Army)

An Army team conducting inspections for the Philip A. Connelly award took a good, long look at the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment dining facility at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday.

The facility was chosen as tops at the 100th Area Support Group and Installation Management Agency-Europe levels before being considered among seven other facilities worldwide as the active-duty Army’s best large facility.

The dining facility has been in this position before, having vied for the top Army honors last year. The last time the facility won at the Army level was 1995, said Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Young, the 1-4 Infantry dining facility manager.

“We feel great about this; we’re confident,” Young said. “I don’t look at this as a competition, but more as training for us.”

Young said he and his staff use comments and suggestions made by the three-person evaluation team to improve the facility.

There was little preparation for the team’s visit, Young said.

“We just brushed up a little on what we do throughout the year,” he said. “We don’t change anything for the sake of the competition.”

About midway through the evaluation Wednesday, Young said the judges had commented on the “excellent facility and excellent layout.” He added that the judges were impressed by the facility’s sports theme, with sports memorabilia adorning its walls.

“This is the fifth out of seven regions that we have evaluated, and this is definitely a standard-setter for the Army,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Peter Motrynczuk, Army food adviser and an evaluator for the Army-level contenders.

“It is absolutely a quality dining facility. The quality of food and the way they serve it is outstanding.”

Motrynczuk also noted that the facility’s success with a mix of soldier and civilian staff members is something he wants to be considered for other Army dining facilities.

The team evaluated the staff on all aspects of dining facility operation, including management, food safety and sanitation and equipment management, Motrynczuk said.

The judges also interviewed staff members about all aspects of operations.

“They are a little nervous, but confident,” Young said Wednesday of the staff. “I’ve told them to just answer the questions. They know this stuff.”

Young said winning the Army-level competition would be a just reward for the staff’s dedication.

“We’ve worked hard and continue to work hard to serve our soldiers,” he said. “This is the Super Bowl of food service. A win would elevate not only the facility, but also the workers in the facility.”

Judging of IMA-Europe’s small category entry, the 26th Area Support Group’s Any Mission Diner on Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg, takes place Dec. 8.

Army-level winners will be announced in January.

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