Story by Sgt. Paul Abacon
2d Cavalry Regiment
GRAFENWOEHR TRAINING AREA, Germany – A team of culinary specialists assigned to Dakota Troop, 1st Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment participated in the Philip A. Connelly Competition for the Department of the Army level at the Grafenwoehr Training Area on January 25, 2022.
The Dakota Troop culinary specialists demonstrated their expertise by conducting food operations in a cold weather field environment during the competition at the Grafenwoehr Training Area.
“This competition is about showing how we use our field equipment, passing knowledge to the new Soldiers and learning from our superiors that came to evaluate us,” said Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Dorgbetor, the Culinary Management NCO from Dakota Troop, 1st Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment.
According to Dorgbetor, the cold weather environment was a challenge to operate for his field feeding team. However, he had confidence in his Soldiers to perform, and they were able to deliver to the best of their abilities.
“We won the United States Army Europe and Africa level competition back in October last year,” said Dorgbetor. “And now we have to compete for the Department of the Army level.”
“There are standards that we should uphold, especially in the field,” said Pvt. Anthony Cartagena, a culinary specialist from the Regimental Support Squadron, who assisted the Dakota Troop. “Our troops love our food. We always try to take care of them, and they always take care of us. We’re just trying to look out for them.”
Cartagena said that he was new to this competition as Rose Barracks, Germany was his first duty station. He viewed it as a great learning experience when helping with the set up for the Philip A. Connelly Competition.
Evaluators from the United States Army Pacific (USARPAC) inspected the field feeding team’s site. The inspections centered on categories ranging from basic kitchen operations and sanitation to food quality and service.
“A challenge for the team is trying to pull from real world situations that are happening, so that they can just get out and test their skills,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Anita Williams, an evaluator for the Philip A. Connelly Competition. “They prepare themselves for when they go out into a combat zone.”
According to Williams, the significance of this competition shows what the United States Army food service is capable of.
“There are so many misconceptions of food service. A lot of people when they say, You’re food service. Your MOS is a 92G. They think of you as Waffle House. We’re not Waffle House,” said Williams. “We can do the same things that you can do at a five-star restaurant. We can give some of the top chefs a run for their money.”
Williams said that the field feeding team of Dakota Troop is the first of six teams to be evaluated for the Philip A. Connelly Competition this year. 2CR looks forward to see where their team places in the end.
Regarding the competition, Dorgbetor concludes, “I’m proud of my troop. I’m proud of my Soldiers. I’m proud of the support I got from 2CR and that we’re always ready to support them.”
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