Marines

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Lance Cpl. Victor Barrios, a food service Marine with Marine Wing Support Squadron 473, Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, begins preparing food for The Major General W. P. T. Hill Memorial Awards competition for food service excellence on June 22, 2018 in Twentynine Palms, California, during Integrated Training Exercise 4-18. This competition encourages excellence in garrison and field food service. (United States Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Alexis B. Rocha/released)

Photo by Cpl. Alexis Rocha

Marines compete in Major General W. P. T. Hill Memorial awards competition for food service excellence

6 Jul 2018 | Cpl. Alexis Rocha Marine Corps Forces Reserves

Food service Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 473, Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, competed in the annual Major General W. P. T. Hill Memorial awards competition for food service excellence on June 22, 2018, during Integrated Training Exercise 4-18 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.

Every military branch participates in the competition, which encourages excellence in garrison and field food service. This year, MWSS-473 competed for the title of Best Reserve Field Mess against three other Marine Forces Reserve units, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th MarDiv, and 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group.

“This competition gives these young Marines a chance to show off everything they’re made of and everything they’ve learned,” said Staff Sgt. Francisco A. Bedolla, a food service specialist with MWSS-473.

The competitive spirit fostered by the competition contributes to improved food service excellence and increased quality of life for Marines.

“To do well in the competition and in food service, the most important thing is having good organizational skills,” said Lance Cpl. Lazaro Bautista, a food service specialist with MWSS-473 and a chief cook for ITX 4-18. “There are so many parts to preparing a meal, and, at our max here, we are feeding about 5,000 people each meal. This requires major organization and the ability to think quickly on our feet if things don’t go as planned.”

This competition tests food service shops on overall operations—how the food tastes, safety and sanitation in the kitchen and dining hall, the food presentation and how food service teams work to enhance the dining experience for Marines they serve.

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is the primary sponsor of this competition each year. The association provides judges for the competition and a trophy and plaque to the winners. Culinary classes at Kendall College in Chicago, Illinois, are also given to winners of the Best Mess Hall.

“Competing in W.P.T. Hill was a great experience,” said Michael T. Moss, a food service specialist with MWSS-473. “The Marines from my squadron really rose to the occasion, and I couldn’t be more proud of our work today.”

The winners of this year’s competition will be announced in May, 2019.

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