Culinary specialists with 238th Quartermaster (Field Feeding) Company led way during 2024 Philip A. Connelly Competition at Fort McCoy

Photo By Scott Sturkol | Soldiers with the 238th Quartermaster (Field Feeding) Company prepare food in a Mobile Kitchen Trailer during the 2024 Philip A. Connelly Competition in the U.S. Army Reserve on May 15, 2024, at Fort McCoy, Wis. The unit, comprised of 92G (culinary specialist) Soldiers, held their competition under the eyes of Army Reserve evaluators at Logistical Staging Area-Freedom on May 14-15. The 238th is newer concept field feeding unit in the Army Reserve. (U.S. Army Photo by Scott T. Sturkol/Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office

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The Army Reserve’s 238th Quartermaster (Field Feeding) Company is a unit that thrives from the skills of the 92G culinary specialist Soldiers assigned to it, and those same Soldiers led a strong effort when the unit competed in the 2024 Philip A. Connelly Competition in the U.S. Army Reserve in mid-May at Fort McCoy.

According to the U.S. Army description of the military occupational specialty for the 92G culinary specialist at https://www.goarmy.com, they have an important job, especially for field feeding operations like they accomplished at Logistical Staging Area-Liberty at Fort McCoy from May 14-15.

“As a culinary specialist, you’ll cook meals and work alongside chefs to prepare meals comparable to any major restaurant so that Soldiers can sit down and enjoy a hot meal in between training or mission deployments,” the description states. “You’ll be responsible for preparing and servicing meals both in the field and at home stations, as well as ordering, inspecting food supplies, and keeping the kitchen safe and sanitary.”

Sgt. Zachary Smalley, the unit’s competition noncommissioned officer in charge, said his team of 92G Soldiers had a big job to do during their competition.

“Well, when it comes to this competition, I want them to have the passion. I want them to be competent with how their cooking skills and their abilities are,” Smalley said. “So, for doing these field (competitions), when they know how to set up the MKT (Military Kitchen Trailer) correctly and it’s timed, or they’re setting up the FSC (food sanitation center) and it’s timed, or just setting up a field site, that a lot of good experience these Soldiers haven’t had yet. I feel like it’s nice for them to have that.

“And as an NCO (noncommissioned officer) training these Soldiers, I want them to be confident enough to train other Soldiers,” Smalley said. “The more we do that, the more passion builds.”

Spc. Gregory Baughman, a 92G culinary specialist with the 238th, said he was in charge of the rations for the competition. All the food prepared for the competition came from unitized group rations, then prepared in the MKT.

Baughman said his role for the competition was important.

“I have to do inventory every day, and then I have to sign out food for the competition,” Baughman said. “They come to me for whatever they need with exact numbers, or they’d sign out modules which each module is about 50 servings for competition.”

The 238th Soldiers were competing in the field feeding portion of the Connelly competition. According to the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, the Philip A. Connelly Program is “the personification of food service excellence executed by culinary specialists resulting in the presentation of extremely gratifying dining experiences across all Army food service platforms in garrison and field environments.”

Program objectives of the Connelly competition, according to the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, includes improving the professionalism of food service personnel, “thus providing the best quality food service to supported diners and providing recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and field kitchen operations.”

Spc. Christine Costes, also a 238th 92G culinary specialist, said participating in a competition like means participants not only do the food work of a 92 “Gulf,” they also complete their Warrior tasks that all Soldiers have to do. The competition was also a learning environment.

“I think that doing your Warrior tasks and being able to do your job and everything goes hand-in-hand,” Costes said. “And especially with this training, the best part is that everything has the field in it. So essentially, you get ready for any sort of mission. Whether it’s cooking for your team in general for a weekend, or if you had to stay a month out here. I think the beneficial thing is that you have that training to get you well rounded with the mission at all costs.”

Smalley said the 238th is newer concept field feeding unit in the Army Reserve, and it’s been proving that a unit like this can be successful in a deployed setting like they were for the competition.

Spc. Terry Drake, also a 238th 92G culinary specialist, said the key to any success for a unit filled with culinary specialists is teamwork. With teamwork, they get a lot accomplished.

“Teamwork is very important,” Drake said. “Because without a good team, you’re not going to get very far. You can’t do anything alone. You need a stable team, and for their first time setting up (in this competition) … I think they did pretty good.”

The final results of the 2024 Army Reserve Philip A. Connelly Competition will be announced at a later date. Learn more about the overall Connelly program by visiting https://quartermaster.army.mil/jccoe/Special_Programs_Directorate/Philip_A_Connelly/P_A_Connelly_main.html.

Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/fmpao, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”

Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base. Fort McCoy is also part of Army’s Installation Management Command where “We Are The Army’s Home.”

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