TAEGU, South Korea — They’d waited eagerly over the weekend for word on who’d win a best chow hall award for the Army in South Korea, and by Monday morning, the word was out.

The 20th Area Support Group at Camp Henry, and two other units, had been named winners of an 8th Army/KORO Philip A. Connelly award, which recognizes the best Army chow halls in South Korea in each of three categories.

That means the units now go on to represent South Korea in the Super Bowl of Army food service competitions — the Army-wide Connelly award.

The 20th ASG won in the “small garrison” category, for dining halls that seat 400 or fewer.

The two other winners were Camp Casey’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Division Support Command, in the “large garrison” category (those whose chow halls seat 401 or more) and, in the field kitchen category, the 501st Corps Support Group, Camp Red Cloud.

The Army and the International Food Service Executives Association co-sponsor the Connelly awards, given to foster excellence in preparing and serving food to soldiers.

“Everybody’s pretty excited about it,” said Sgt. Betty Horton-Hardy, a shift leader at the Camp Henry dining hall, because of “just being a part of something where we were in competition with other people and we came out on top.”

News of a win brought similar excitement at the 501st CSG, where they’re already looking ahead to the Army-wide competition.

“We’re gonna take this train all the way up,” said Sgt. First Class Cynthia Woods, a food service sergeant with the 501st CSG.

“It means that we go to the last level,” said Woods. “It means more hard training … because you’re going against the best of the best.”

To win a Connelly Award, unit food service staff undergo a rigorous evaluation by visiting inspectors who check everything from bookkeeping practices to whether cooks use the right knife strokes in cutting vegetables.

For the Department of Army-level Connelly competition, an evaluation team will visit each of the competing units between Oct. 1st and Dec. 15, said Chief Warrant Officer Atelano Villon, 8th U.S. Army/KORO food adviser.

Winners will be announced sometime before Christmas, and winners and runners-up later will attend an awards ceremony in the United States, Villon said.

“Not everybody can win this award,” said Sgt. 1st Class Iris Cochrane, food service adviser with Installation Management Agency Korea Region Office in Seoul. “Not everyone can win the Super Bowl — not everyone can win Philip A. Connelly. It’s the best.”

Villon said runners-up in the South Korea competition included:

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