Fort Riley, Kansas



‘Demon’ Soldiers step out of dining facility for cooking competition

By Sgt. Jarrett Allen | 1ST COMBAT AVIATION BRIGADE | May 12, 2017

     In a competition that took place April 27 on a mock airfield at Fort Riley’s multi-purpose range complex, Soldiers from the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, “Demon” dining facility competed against the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, in order to move one step closer to earning the Philip A. Connelly award.

     According to the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence, “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.”

     Staff Sgt. Robert Malone, culinary specialist, Company E, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, said the competition was challenging in that it requires attention to a substantial amount of detail.

     “From measuring precise distances between the soakage pit, trash points and the incinerator, to making sure all paperwork was filled out just right with no room for error,” Malone said.

     Malone said they also had to make sure dining Soldiers were constantly moving through the line to prevent a mass casualty situation if they were to take indirect fire during food operations.

     The Demon Soldiers started preparing for this competition back in February, Malone said. It began with an operations order and from there they made sure to get all necessary paperwork done before making sure their Soldiers were properly trained and licensed on the equipment they would be using during the main event, such as the mobile kitchen trailer.

     Demon Soldiers took the win and will be moving on to the next phase, going up against the units at the lll Corps level, Malone said. If they succeed again, they will face units at the United States Forces Command level. The final phase of the competition is at the Department of the Army level.

     Malone said he was proud of his Soldiers throughout the competition. Some of his Soldiers, previously stationed in South Korea, had been out with the type of equipment they were using in the past. He said they were skilled in their abilities to put the equipment into operation.

     “Usually, people don’t set it up by the technical manuals, but we do and all of our Soldiers had the knowledge to set it up accordingly,” Malone said.

     Pvt. Keon Christie, also a culinary specialist with 2nd GSAB, 1st Avn. Regt., having competed in South Korea, said this competition was more structured. Setting up the tents and the field sanitation center is where he learned the most from the event.

     Christie said he learned a lot from his noncommissioned officers about setting up the soakage pit and the incinerator with the proper distances from the containerized kitchen.

     “They helped when we needed help, but they let us run our show and made sure we were doing everything the right way,” Christie said.