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Twentynine Palms

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

Twentynine Palms, California
'Best of the West' heats up competition for 'Best of the Corps'

By Lance Cpl. Nicole A. LaVine | | September 28, 2007

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Since the Combat Center’s Phelps Hall has recently been named ‘Best of the West,’ therefore becoming eligible for the annual Maj. Gen. W.P.T. Hill Award, preparations are taking place in hopes to bring home the title of this year’s best Marines Corps mess hall.

The Hill Award is given to Marine Corps mess halls employing both Marines and contractors in its facilities, also referred to as a mess management.

Phelps Hall will be competing with other Marine Corps mess halls at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and Camp Hanson, Okinawa, Japan.

The mess hall in Marine Corps Base Hawaii has taken home the award two years in a row. But Master Sgt. Pedro L. Rosado, 7th Marine Regiment mess manager, said he is confident that Phelps Hall Marines, contractors and facility has all it takes to earn the award this year.

After all, Phelps Hall has won the annual Marine Corps Installation West Awards for mess management three years in a row. Phelps Hall was presented with this year’s MCI Award Aug. 22. Winning this award is one of the requirements for eligibility for the Hill Award.

Phelps competed with and beat three other west-coast Marine Corps mess halls participating in the competition.

Superior execution in elements such as contractor relations, food production, training, administration and maintenance earned Phelps the award.

Rosado attributes the facility’s success to the positive relationship among the Marines and contractors.

“The biggest reason we’ve been winning is because of the great relationship with our contractors,” said Rosado.

June Richardson, area general manager, agreed, saying the tasks Phelps Hall workers complete would not be possible if they were not there to support each other.

“It takes so many hours to keep this place running,” said Richardson. “There are extra field days, a lot of small details and many man hours.”

Rosado said that because the equipment being used seven days a week is so well maintained, there will be no need for dramatic measures when the time comes for the official inspection.

“When they come in to do the inspection, this place will look the same as it does on every day of the week,” said Rosado. “We don’t let it slip. Our mess hall is good to go all the time.

All we will have to do to win is follow procedure.”

If Phelps Hall wins the award this year, Rosado says it is a true reflection on the admirable work ethic and long hours put in by the contractors and Marines.

“If we win this award, it will tell us we are the best mess hall in the Marine Corps,” said Rosado.

Richardson said the biggest reward for winning, aside from the title, will be the morale booster for the Marines and contractors.

“Every year they really give it 500 percent,” said Richardson about the Marines and contractors. “And it’s not because we tell them to. They come in proud of what they do and step it up even more for this.”

Regardless of the results of the official inspections scheduled for Oct. 22, the Marines and contractors who rise early to keep the chow hall in excellent condition will not stray from their dedication to duty.


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