PORT HUENEME, CA, UNITED STATES
Story by Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Carzis
CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Calif. – U.S. Air National Guardsmen from the 146th Airlift Wing’s Services Flight were selected for national recognition for the first time, as they competed for the title of best dining facility operations in the Air National Guard.
Senior Master Sgt. Neil Bulatao, 146th AW Base Services Program Manager, led a 26-man team during the evaluation held at the dining facility located at Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Port Hueneme, Calif. Mar. 9, 2018. The inspection consisted of an entire evaluation of the kitchen operations to include; service and dining operations, personnel readiness, sanitation, and repair maintenance management abilities.
The “Kenneth Disney Award” nomination came after Bulatao and his team placed in the top three of dining facilities recognized out of the 70 ANG wings who were submitted.
Bulatao, an 18-year veteran with the California National Guard and former restaurant owner, attributes the recognition to his team of Airmen at the 146th AW.
“This nomination is really special to us. We are excited to demonstrate all of our capabilities to our evaluators. None of this is possible without our Airmen. They bring such a high level of commitment to their profession every day,” said Bulatao.
Master Sgt. Joseph Magat, Base Services Manager and the first line supervisor for the 26-man team for the 146th AW, shares Bulatao’s assessment adding that the Airmen strive for perfection.
“Our fulltime staff can only be graded for about 60% of the work load being evaluated here. This means that our drill status guardsmen, who are not here every day, really had to rise to the occasion and carry our team to optimum performance for the rest of our grade,” said Magat.
“It makes my job so much easier when you get to work around such passionate Airmen. No words could really explain how proud I am of all of them,” said Magat.
The “Kenneth Disney Award”, established in 2000, promotes excellence in guest service and meal quality for the ANG. Named after Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Disney, a U.S. Air National Guardsman who established a legacy of pride and commitment to quality food service while serving in the Tennessee Air National Guard, recognizes outstanding ANG dining facility operations who share in his passion.
Magat’s team of Airmen prepared for countless hours prior to the evaluation to include a deep dive into administration training paperwork and an extensive cleaning overall of the local dining facility.
The award sponsored by the National Restaurant Association, the Culinary Institute of America and various hospitality industry sponsors, select outstanding ANG units with the best dining facility operations for the Disney Award.
Outstanding performers selected during the evaluation will have the chance to attend the Culinary Institute of America’s 9 day course held in Napa Valley, Calif. Bulatao feels this is a great opportunity for his Airmen to enhance their skillsets and make their dining facility shine even brighter.
“The possibility is really exciting and we hope that someone from our team is selected. Adding this type of training to the tool belts of our Airmen can only be a win-win scenario,” said Bulatao.
The winner of the evaluation will be announced during a broadcast of the Warrior network in April of 2019.