NRA Educational Foundation honors U.S. military branches for excellence in foodservice operations

July 5, 2021

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation last month announced the winners of the 2021 Military Foodservice Awards during a Facebook Live event. 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 chief executive of the National Restaurant Association and chief executive of the NRAEF; Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF; and Brett Ladd, chief executive of Sodexo Universities and Government.

The 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. DenhemII 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. JusticeI 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 KitsapKitsap, 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 CarterKitsap, 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 BaseFussa, 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 WingMinot 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


Norfolk, VA

Captain, USMM: Andrew Lindey

Best Foodservice Operation Medium Ship


San Diego, CA

Captain, USMM: Euceif C. Balafas

Best Foodservice Operation Large Ship


San Diego, CA

Captain, USMM: Lee A. Apsley 

Best Foodservice Operation Hybrid Ship



Captain, U.S. Navy and Captain, USMM: Albert Alaron and Dale P. Cramer

The 2021 Military Foodservice Awards were sponsored by Sodexo, Ecolab, Brinker International, HMSHost Foundation, Aramark, Sysco Corp., 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 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.


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