View Full Version : Team effort brings Army award to 5th Group DFAC

11-20-2008, 12:38

RELEASE NUMBER: 0811020-03

Team effort brings Army award to 5th Group DFAC
By Sgt. Ernest Henry
5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Public Affairs Office

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (USASOC News Service, Nov. 20, 2008) – Operating a first class dining facility is not what most people think of when the term Special Forces is mentioned. But that changed recently when the Oasis Inn was named a runner-up in the 2008 Philip A. Connelly Award for Excellence in Army Food Service.

“It takes a team to win an award like this,” said Command Sgt. Major Anthony Pettengill, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) command sergeant major. “Providing the best possible customer service to our diners is our focus.”

Known as one of the most prestigious awards in the military culinary field, the Connelly Awards recognize Army units for providing the best food and food service support to their customers. Evaluators from the International Food Service Association and the Army Center of Excellence, Subsistence, travel around the world to judge food service specialists at work during dining facility and field kitchen operations. The evaluators based their decision on food preparation, taste, nutrition, service, and sanitation.

Being recognized as one of the best in the small garrison dining facility category highlights how far the 5th SFG(A) team has come since opening less than a year ago.

“It’s a huge honor, and it means we’re among the best in our field,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Woodruff, dining facility manager from D Company, 3rd Battalion. “It’s definitely one of the biggest things I’ve been a part of during my Army career. Even to be looked at in our first year is huge.”

This achievement cannot be attributed to one person or one section within the dining facility, Pettengill said. Like most things in the military, it was a team effort.

“Our biggest strength was we all stayed humble and worked together,” said Sgt. 1st Class Orlando Jinks, assistant dining facility manager from D Company, 1st Battalion. “We all put in a lot of hard work and dedication, spent a lot of long nights making sure we were giving the customers the best product possible.”

Receiving a Connelly Award only amplifies the accomplishment the personnel at the Oasis Inn have achieved.

“The biggest challenge we face here is the constant deployments,” said Capt. Chris Hamman, food service officer for the Oasis Inn. “It’s a real testament to the resolve of our personnel to maintain the same high level of service while rotating our Soldiers on deployments and continuing our training schedule.”

For their accomplishment, the small dining facility was presented with a trophy and certificate. While the Oasis Inn is primarily designated to serve troops and civilians assigned to 5th SFG(A) and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, they welcome patrons from all over Fort Campbell.

“We routinely see customers from the 101st, MPs, the fire department, as well as guys from Group and SOAR,” Woodruff said. “And now that we’ve earned this award, we’re only going to work harder.”

The current dining facility staff came together in December 2007, when the Oasis Inn first opened their doors for business.

“Last December when we started, we started from scratch, literally,” Jinks said. “We had brand new equipment, brand new Soldiers and civilians who had never worked together, but somehow, we still made it happen.”

Hamman said the possibility of awards is not the sole reason for his team’s hard work, but did say it provides an incentive for the future.

“In the beginning, we weren’t trying to win any awards,” Hamman said. “We were simply maintaining the standard, and now that we have been validated and our hard work is starting to pay dividends. We’re looking to do even better next year.”

The Oasis Inn is located on the corner of Indiana and 42nd Street. Breakfast hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Lunch hours are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


11-27-2008, 05:05
Congrats to the boys at the Oasis Inn! As a former 5th Group member, I used to chow down there when it was the Desert Inn (more than a few weeks ago). In my opinoin, the 5th Group dining facility has always had a long tradition of doing their best to please the customer. It's high time that they received the recognition that they deserve. Keep it up, gents!