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Military’s Leading Foodservice Operations Recognized for the Crucial Role They Play in Promoting Force Readiness

The 2023 Military Foodservice Awards kick off a weekend of National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation events to celebrate top military and Sealift teams

CHICAGO, May 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Top dining and foodservice operations from the military and Military Sealift Command were recognized at the 2023 Military Foodservice Awards. In a ceremony that featured remarks by Medal of Honor recipient and retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers, Jr., award-winning units were lauded for their work to support America’s Armed Forces – both at home and overseas.

The dinner kicked off a weekend of celebratory events for winning teams in conjunction with Armed Forces Day – part of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) work to promote career opportunities for military, veterans, and their family members in the restaurant industry. Honorees spent the weekend immersed in the NRAEF’s Advanced Management Training Program, where they learned about industry career pathways, the fundamentals of restaurant management and leadership, and developed their own restaurant concepts. The weekend also offered winners the chance to complete their Professional Certification through ServSuccess and interact with industry leaders and innovators at the National Restaurant Association Show.

“These honorees represent the highest level of service to our country and the highest level of excellence in foodservice,” said Michelle Korsmo, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and CEO of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “We are proud of our long history of partnering to help service members improve their culinary and foodservice skills and pursue their dreams of a future in our industry. Their commitment to service is an inspiration to us all.”

“Restaurant and foodservice operations across the country need the skills, dedication, and commitment to excellence displayed by every one of this year’s foodservice award winners,” said Rob Gifford, president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “Our industry is one of endless opportunities and we are excited to open doors for military members to meaningful post-duty careers.”

This year’s Military Foodservice Award winners were selected following a rigorous assessment process overseen by the NRAEF, which deploys teams of restaurant and foodservice industry professionals throughout the year to installations across the globe. Foodservice operations are assessed on several factors, including management effectiveness, force readiness support, food quality, employee and customer relations, resource conservation, and training and safety awareness.

The NRAEF’s 2023 Military Foodservice Awards were sponsored by Aramark, Areas, BJ’s Restaurants, Buffalo Wild Wings, Computrition, DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS National Accounts, Ecolab, Heroes Government Supply, HMSHost, Hobart, Hormel, McDonald’s, Rich Products, Robert Irvine Foods, Society for Hospitality Foodservice Management Foundation, Sodexo, Sysco, and Whataburger.  

The following units were recognized as 2023 Military Foodservice Award winners:

Winners of the Philip A. Connelly Awards, honoring the Army:

  • Active Army Garrison: Group Support Battalion, 7th Special Force Group (Airborne), Camp “Bull” Simons, Eglin Air Force Base
  • Active Army Field Kitchen: 221st Quartermaster Company, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany
  • Army Reserve Field Kitchen: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 400th Military Police Battalion, 333rd Military Police Brigade, 200th Military Police Command, Fort Meade, Maryland
  • Army National Guard Field Kitchen: Bravo Company, 1109th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group (TASMG), Pearl City, Hawaii

Winners of the Major General W.P.T. Hill Memorial Awards, honoring the United States Marine Corps:

  • Best Management and Mess Attendant Mess Hall: Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Mess Hall 2356, 12th Marine Regiment, Okinawa, Japan
  • Best Full Foodservice Mess Hall: Marine Corps Installations East, Mess Hall 4013, Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina
  • Best Active Field Mess: Marine Forces Pacific, III Marine Expeditionary Force, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, Combat Logistics Regiment 37, Okinawa, Japan
  • Best Reserve Field Mess: Marine Forces Reserves, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Combat Logistics Regiment 45, Smyrna, Georgia

Winners of the Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Awards, honoring the Navy:

  • Aircraft Carrier Platform: USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)
  • Submarine Platform: USS Maine (SSBN 741)
  • Small/Medium Platform: USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116)
  • Large Platform: USS Bataan (LHD 5)
  • West Coast: Joint Base Pearl Harbor, Silver Dolphin Bistro – Hickham, Hawaii
  • East Coast: Naval Station Newport Rhode Island, Ney Hall Galley – Newport, Rhode Island
  • OCONUS: U.S. Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, Ristorante Bella Etna – Sigonella, Italy

Winners of the Forrest O. Rednour Memorial Awards, honoring the United States Coast Guard:

  • Dining Facility of the Year – Base: Base San JuanSan Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Dining Facility of the Year – Medium Afloat: USCGC Walnut – Pensacola, Florida
  • Dining Facility of the Year – Large Afloat: CGC Bertolf – Alameda, California
  • Dining Facility of the Year – Sector and SFO: Sector New YorkNew York, New York
  • Dining Facility of the Year – Training Center and Culinary Support Activity: Tracen Petaluma – Petaluma, California
  • Dining Facility of the Year – Small Afloat: USCGC Shrike
  • Dining Facility of the Year – Station: Station BurlingtonBurlington, Vermont

Winners of the Captain David M. Cook Foodservice Excellence Awards, honoring the Military Sealift Command:

  • Small Ship Category: USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51)
  • Medium Ship Category: USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188)
  • Large Ship Category: USNS Richard E Byrd (T-AKE 4)
  • Hybrid Ship Category: USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20)

Winners of the John L. Hennessy Awards, honoring the Air Force:

  • Active Duty Foodservice Operations Region One: Incirlik Air Base, Turkey – United States Air Forces in Europe
  • Active Duty Foodservice Operations Region Two: Yokota Air Base, Japan – Pacific Air Forces Command
  • Air Force Reserves Foodservice Operations: 512 Memorial Affairs Squadron, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware – Air Force Reserve Command

Winner of the Senior Master Sergeant Kenneth W. Disney Food Service Award, honoring the Air National Guard: 

  • 127th Wing, Selfridge, Michigan Air National Guard

In addition to its annual Military Foodservice Awards, the NRAEF provides training through its quarterly Advanced Culinary Training Program (ACTP), connects transitioning military to apprenticeship opportunities, and provides scholarship opportunities to support military and veterans pursuing post-secondary education in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Visit to learn more.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF): As the supporting philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF’s charitable mission includes enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development, and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower, and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready/HOPES – Partnering with community based organizations to provide people with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and the Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited apprenticeship programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF, visit ChooseRestaurants.orgClick here for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s 2022 Annual Impact Report.

SOURCE National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

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