MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The Combat Center’s commanding general, Brig. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III, presented the Maj. Gen. W.P.T. Hill Memorial Award to the food service personnel from Littleton Hall Messhall June 16, 2011, naming them the best in the Food Service Contracted Garrison Mess Hall category, one of four categories in which messhalls Marine Corps-wide compete.
The W.P.T. Hill Memorial Award, established in 1985, is an annual competition recognizing food service excellence at Marine Corps installations around the globe.
Littleton Hall, operated Sodexo Government Services and Combat Center food service Marines have competed for the award for the past six years, losing by one half of a point each time. This is the first time they have won.
“The key to winning is the partnership between Sodexo and the Marine Corps,” said June Richardson, the area operations manager for Sodexo. Richardson credits the hard work and team spirit of both civilian employees and Marines for winning this year’s award.
“How can you say you don’t want to be the best?” said Staff Sgt. Stephen Targos, supply chief, base food services. “That’s what the trophy signifies.”
Targos also credited teamwork as a contributing factor to the messhall’s success.
“There’s no way that one individual can win an award such as this,” Targos said. “It takes the effort of everyone.”
Facilities are judged in a multitude of areas. Extremely detailed inspections of sanitation, quality of food, presentation, customer service and the environment, which includes outside the building as well as the dining and kitchen areas, are conducted.
Judges grade messhalls on details like menu compliance, serving accurate portion sizes, using correct utensils and ensuring equipment is working properly and maintained in good condition.
One portion of the judging is strictly subjective and cannot be measured with a scale, customer satisfaction. Members of the judging team interview diners.
Marines are always honest about the quality and taste of the food they are served said Richardson.
“This is pretty chill, relaxing,” said Pfc. Jonathan Ramirez, a student with Company A, Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School, about the messhall’s dining area. His favorite meal comes from their Chinese food menu.
“It’s some of the best I’ve had around Twentynine Palms,” he said.
The staff’s dedication to quality food is well known throughout the rest of the Combat Center as well.
“They work hard to prepare good food for the Marines,” said Sgt. Christopher Roberts, a vehicle commander with 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. Littleton has a great set-up and friendly staff, he said.
As the food service staff relish in this year’s win, their nearly three-foot-tall trophy displayed prominently at the end of the main food line, they continue to focus on quality food and customer service.
“It’s what we do every day,” said Richardson. Her attitude, and others like it, will win them the trophy again and again.