NORFOLK, Va. (June 29, 2022) Military Sealift Command’s fleet replenishment ship USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188) was recognized recently for its outstanding food service program as a recipient of the 2021 Capt. David M. Cook Award for food service excellence in the Medium Afloat category. This is the ship’s first win.
MSC Foodservice Community Manager Christopher D. Jones officially presented the award to the ship on June 29. Chief Steward John S. Robinson accepted the award on behalf of the food service team. Winning isn’t everything but it sure beats second place, said Robinson. “I can’t thank MSC’s Foodservice Policy and Systems Management committee enough for recognizing the high quality of food service provided onboard Joshua Humphreys. My team and I are both humbled and delighted to receive this prestigious recognition.”
Winning the food service award of excellence is a true win-win, said Capt. Patrick T. Christian, master of USNS Joshua Humphreys. “The vessel’s food program allows my cooks the opportunity to showcase their unique culinary skills, while at the same time giving my civil service mariners the chance to experience a heart healthy meal.”
This award is never given to just one person; it is always won by a team effort. Joshua Humphreys’ food service team is made up of five cooks – Chief Steward John S. Robinson, Chief Cook Bernard Anton, Cook Baker Richard Atilano, Second Cook Gustavo Lunaaranda, and Assistant Cook Tempestt Veale, – and two members from the ship’s supply department – Supply Officer Vincent Montague and Supply Utilityman Leanora White.
The central part of what some might say is the crucial part of any Navy ship is its galley. Being able to provide heart healthy meals is vital to a CIVMAR’s performance and overall health, said Christian. “Because CIVMARs face a variety of complex challenges every day aboard the vessel, it is vital that they eat healthy – doing so helps their mood and boosts their energy levels. More importantly, eating heart healthy meals helps to reduce stress and anxiety.”
MSC’s competition for food service is comparable to the Navy’s Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award – An award that encourages friendly competition among units and challenges culinary teams to consistently demonstrate outstanding daily upkeep, sanitation, safety, food service equipment and administration, inventory management, food preparation, customer surveys, and financial accountability while simultaneously delivering high-quality nutritious foods that exceed customer service expectations, according to the Navy.
Joshua Humphreys customer surveys, completed in 2021, confirmed that the food service team is committed to producing excellent meals while at the same time is dedicated to providing outstanding customer service to its civil service mariners who serve aboard the fleet oiler, said Jones.
MSC established the Food Service Management Excellence Award in 1992 to improve the quality of MSC shipboard food service operations and to formally recognize the civilian mariners responsible for outstanding management of shipboard food service operations. In 2003, the award was renamed as the Capt. David M. Cook Food Service Excellence Award, named after Capt. David M. Cook, MSC’s director of logistics from 1995 to 1998.
The award recognizes the challenge of achieving the highest standards of culinary skill and nutrition in the food served to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and CIVMARs aboard its vessels. The award also acknowledges the contribution shipboard foodservice professionals make in order to maintain high morale and fitness to accomplish the ship’s missions.
Joshua Humphreys is one of four ship winners. The other three were in the following categories: Small Afloat – USNS Burlington (T-EPF 12), Large Afloat – USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4); and Hybrid Afloat – USS Frank Cable (AS 40).