2018 Food Service Specialist of the Year Stands Above the Rest



Story by Lance Cpl. Brennan Priest 

Marine Corps Installations Pacific

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan- The smell of cooking food wafts through the air as Marines hustle in preparation of the lunch rush.

For Staff Sgt. Adrianne R. Devera, recipient of the 2018 Food Service Specialist of the Year Award in the staff noncommissioned officer category, the kitchen is where he feels most confident; he stands tall under the responsibility of being the assistant mess hall manager.

Each year, staff noncommissioned officers and noncommissioned officers of the food service specialist occupational field are recommended for the Food Service Specialist of the Year Award. Once recommended, the Marines are evaluated on the whole Marine concept; job execution, influence on those around them, and performance as a Marine.

“Everybody who has their hands connected to the mess hall helped me do what I needed to better everybody else and myself,” said Devera, a Monrovia, California, native.

Devera is driven by competition. He has been dedicated to excellence, as a Marine and a food service specialist, since he became a Marine in 2003.

That competitive spirit is what drives Devera’s work in the mess hall.

“Marines are competitive,” said Devera. “As a food service Marine, we compete to be the best cook. It starts there and when you become culinary specialist of the quarter, bragging rights come with.”

As a sergeant, Devera was recommended for the Food Service Specialist of the Year Award and finished as a runner up. As a reward for finishing in the top tier, Devera was able to attend the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Saint Helena, California. While attending the culinary institute, Devera learned advanced culinary techniques.

“That kept the fire going and made me love the job more,” said Devera. “To a young Marine, it is just cafeteria cooking, but after you go to an advanced course like that, you’re like, ‘wow, I can’t believe I can do that.’”

As the assistant mess hall manager on MCAS Futenma, Devera is in charge of a kitchen that produces over 1,200 meals a day. Each meal takes the mess hall over two hours to prepare.

Devera’s leadership is firm, but fair. He sets the example for those around him, inspiring with his presence. Throughout his Marine Corps career, Devera has motivated his peers, subordinates and superiors alike, according to Master Sgt. Keith J. Williams, mess hall manager, MCAS Futenma.

“He likes to invoke competition,” said Williams. “He transfers that energy to the Marines around him and pushes them to achieve.”

While working at the MCAS Futenma mess hall, Devera has held several billets. As the substance chief, he streamlined the inventory and storage process and saved the mess hall thousands of dollars. As the operations and training staff noncommissioned officer, Devera efficiently managed government resources and food service support for 12 units. As the current assistant mess hall manager, he ensures the kitchen is operating smoothly and the Marines under him are exceling.

Even though at times the work can seem unappreciated, the excellence that is put into being a Marine and food service specialist does not change, according to Devera.

“To the young Marines out there that are thinking, ‘oh I’m just a cook,’ you’re not just a cook. One, you’re a Marine, and two, you’re a food service Marine,” said Devera. “You are the ultimate morale booster.”

Devera is an example for everyone. Earning the award is a symbol of the dedication that he has put into his job and career as a Marine according to Williams.

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