National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Honors U.S. Military Branches for Excellence in Foodservice Operations

NRAEF Celebrates 2021 Military Foodservice Award Winners on Facebook Live

WASHINGTON, DC – June 10, 2021 – The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced the winners of the 2021 Military Foodservice Awards virtually during a Facebook Live event on Wednesday, June 9. The event, hosted annually by the NRAEF, is part of the Foundation’s commitment to support members of the military, military spouses, and veterans with training opportunities to hone their skills, and provide pathways to meaningful jobs and careers in the restaurant industry. 


The winning teams were congratulated by Tom Bené, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and CEO of the NRAEF; Rob Gifford, President of the NRAEF; and Brett Ladd, CEO of Sodexo Universities and Government. 

“We are thrilled to celebrate this year’s best of the best in military foodservice,” said Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF. “For more than 65 years, the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF have recognized excellence in military foodservice to mark these momentous accomplishments. Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to each of our industry sponsons for their support in honoring our military foodservice professionals." 

Typically, representatives from the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF team up with senior military personnel and travel to installations around the globe to evaluate military foodservice operations. Due to COVID-19, the 2021 evaluations took place virtually, with volunteer evaluators spending time at night, early in the morning, and on weekends to conduct evaluations and select the best military foodservice operations for the awards. 

Watch the full awards program: Facebook Live.  YouTube. 

2021 Military Foodservice Award Winners

Winners of The Philip A. Connelly Awards, honoring the Army:

Best Active Army Garrison
Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 10th Group Support Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, Airborne
Fort Carson, CO    
Company Commander: Captain Notarianni

Best Active Army Field Kitchen
Headquarters & Headquarters Company, Group Support Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group Airborne
Eglin Air Force Base, FL 
Company Commander: Captain Zaldivar

Best Army Reserve Field Kitchen
Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 368th Engineer Battalion, 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
Londonberry, NH
Company Commander: Captain Lapenna

Best Army National Guard Field Kitchen
Delta Company, 634th Brigade Support Battalion 
33rd IBCT, IL
Company Commander: 1st Lieutenant (LT) Kamys

Winners of the Major General W.P.T. Hill Memorial Awards, honoring the Marine Corps:

Active-Duty Staff Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year
Gunnery Sergeant Jonathan A. Denhem
II Marine Expeditionary Force, 2nd Marine Division        
Camp Lejeune, NC
Deputy Commander: Colonel Todd W. Ferry

Active-Duty Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year
Sergeant Gabriel C. Justice 
I Marine Expeditionary Force, 13th Marine Expeditionary Force Unit
Camp Pendleton, CA
Commanding Officer: Colonel Andrew T. Priddy

Reserve Non Commissioned Officer of the Year
Sergeant Mouhammed Cisse
4th Marine Logistics Group, Combat Regiment 45
Marietta, GA 
Commanding Officer: Michael C. Varicak

Winners of the Captain Edwards F. Ney Memorial Awards, honoring the Navy:

Best Aircraft Carrier
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower 
Norfolk, VA
Commanding Officer: Captain Paul Campagna

Best Small/Medium Afloat
USS McFaul 
Norfolk, VA
Commanding Officer: Commander Bobby Rowden

Best Large Afloat
USS Iwo Kima
Mayport, FL
Commanding Officer: Captain David Loo

Best East Coast Ashore
Gator Inn, Joint Expeditionary Base
Little Creek, VA
Commanding Officer: Captain Michael L. Witherspoon

Best West Coast Ashore
Trident Inn, Naval Base Kitsap
Kitsap, WA
Commanding Officer: Captain Richard G. Rhinehart 

Best OCONUS - Outside the Contiguous U.S Ashore
Ristorante Bella Etna, Naval Air Station Sigonella
Sigonella, Italy    
Commanding Officer: Captain Kevin Pickard Jr. 

Best Submarine
USS Jimmy Carter
Kitsap, WA
Commanding Officer: Commander Brian Elkowitz

Winners of the John L. Hennessey Awards, honoring the Air Force:

Region One Winner
96th Force Support Squadron
Eglin AFB
Fort Walden Beach, FL 
Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Hilary Hedberg

Region Two Winner
374th Force Support Squadron
Yokota Air Base
Fussa, Japan
Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer Chang

USAFE Small Site Winner
702nd Munitions Support Squadron
Buechel Air Base
Buechel, Germany
Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Brent McCraney

AFGSC Best Missile Feeding Operation
5th Bomb Wing
Minot Air Force Base
Minot, ND
Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Michael Weeks

Air Force Reserve Winner
512th Memorial Affairs Squadron
Dover Air Force Base
Dover, DE
Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Elenah Kelly

Senior Master Sergeant Kenneth W. Disney Food Service Award Winner
179th Sustainment Services Flight
Mansfield, OH
Commander: Major Maegan Sutton

Winners of the Forrest O. Rednour Memorial Award, honoring the United States Coast Guard:

Best Large Afloat Dining Facility 
USCGC Harriet Lane
Portsmouth, VA
Commander: Benjamin F. Goff Jr. 

Best Large Ashore Dining Facility
Coast Guard Base Los Angeles/ Long Beach
San Pedro, CA    
Commander: William "Brian" Winburn

Best Medium Afloat Dining Facility 
USCGC Resolute 
St. Petersburg, FL
Commander: Justin Vandel

Best Medium Ashore Dining Facility
Coast Guard Sector Northern New England
South Portland, ME
Commander: Mark R. Neeland

Best Small Afloat Dining Facility 
USCGC Sockeye
Bodega Bay, CA 
Master Chief: R. Shane Hooker

Best Small Ashore Dining Facility 
Coast Guard Station Burlington 
Burlington, VT    
Senior Chief: Charles Northcott

Winners of the Captain David M. Cook Foodservice Excellence Awards, honoring the Military Sealift Command:

Best Foodservice Operation Small Ship
USNS COMFORT (T-AH 20)
Norfolk, VA
Captain, USMM: Andrew Lindey

Best Foodservice Operation Medium Ship
USNS YUKON (T-AO 202)
San Diego, CA
Captain, USMM: Euceif C. Balafas

Best Foodservice Operation Large Ship
USNS RICHARD E. BYRD (T-AKE 4)
San Diego, CA    
Captain, USMM: Lee A. Apsley 

Best Foodservice Operation Hybrid Ship
FRANK CABLE (AS-40)
Guam
Captain, U.S. Navy and Captain, USMM: Albert Alaron and Dale P. Cramer

The 2021 Military Foodservice Awards were sponsored Sodexo, Ecolab, Brinker International, HMSHost Foundation, Aramark, Sysco Corporation, Computrition, Whataburger Restaurants, BJ’s Restaurant, Seaboard Foods, and Kitchens to Go. 

In addition to recognizing foodservice excellence within the armed forces, the NRAEF provides military foodservice training on established industry standards of restaurant management and culinary training, connects transitioning military to apprenticeship opportunities, supports military spouses and provides scholarship opportunities.

Visit ChooseRestaurants.org to learn how to get involved with the NRAEF and its work to empower people from all backgrounds with the training and education they need to secure a better future.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide opportunity youth and previously incarcerated individuals with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry. For more information on the NRAEF, visit ChooseRestaurants.org.

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Media Contact:
Mallory Domingue
mdominuge@nraef.org

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