Soldiers from the 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade were awarded first place in the Philip A. Connelly competition in both the United States Army Forces Command and III Corps level, during an award ceremony at III Corps Headquarters April 22.
The Connelly award is one of the highest awards to be presented to food service specialists and consists of two separate categories, field food service and garrison food service.
Wranglers competed in the field portion of the competition and won at the FORSCOM level beating out teams from across the country. The Wranglers also won the III Corps competition and are awaiting the results for the ultimate prize, the Department of Army level.
Sgt. Vidal Velez was one of the winners of the competition. He said it takes about 40 to 60 days of preparation but the judging is a one-day event consisting of, but not limited to, site setup, food preparation and service.
“Basic construction of the landscape, setting up of the containerized kitchen, sanitation center, rations tent, dining area, and various other things such as a burn pit to dispose of trash, and it is important to show how it would be simulated in the field,” Velez said. “We are not just cooking the food to be judged but we also are judged for the site setup as well.”
Pfc. Tiffany Giles participated in the competition. At first, Giles believed she would not be ready for the competition but the battalion’s soldiers encouraged and helped her to prepare.
“I didn’t think coming out of (advanced individual training) that I would be able to be a part of something like this. I thought it would take years to do,” Giles said. “They taught me a lot of stuff and they brought me in and showed me the ropes and showed me stuff that I didn’t learn in AIT.”
The soldiers were each presented with a certificate by Brig. Gen. Clark LeMasters, Jr., commander of the 13th Sustainment Command, and a plaque acknowledging them as first place winners in the competition.
Velez also received an award from FORSCOM for Outstanding Achievement.
“It feels good to know that out of the whole group I was pulled out, and I know it in my heart that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed. I was just doing my job and being a leader and having fun while I was out there,” Velez said.