Military’s Leading Foodservice Units Honored for Their Global Support Efforts

Restaurant industry celebrates excellence and dedication of top-tier teams at the 2024 Military Foodservice Awards

CHICAGO — The crucial role of foodservice professionals in America’s Armed Forces and Military Sealift Command was the focus of the 2024 Military Foodservice Awards. The ceremony, which was hosted by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), featured keynote remarks by Air Force veteran and two-time Food Network “Chopped” champion Chef Opal Poullard to highlight exceptional foodservice units operating on installations across the globe.  

“As we all know, this can be a thankless profession. There are long hours involved, along with the demand for perfection, all with adherence to the obligations that your respective service calls you to do for this great nation. Yet, you show up daily and answer that call,” Chef Opal Poullard told winners during her keynote remarks. Poullard has channeled her two decades of Air Force experience into a successful civilian career as a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Educator. She also served as a Guest Chef at the White House in 2023 at the invitation of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. 

The 2024 Military Foodservice awards were the culmination of a rigorous evaluation process for winning units, who were selected by restaurant industry and military evaluators based on a range of criteria, including management effectiveness, force readiness support, food quality, employee and customer relations, resource conservation, and training and safety awareness. Each year, the NRAEF deploys these evaluation teams to units across the globe – whether at home, outside the continental United States, or deployed – as part of its ongoing commitment to support military foodservice professionals. Access a recording of the event here.

“These honorees represent the highest level of service to our country and the highest level of excellence in foodservice,” said Michelle Korsmo, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and CEO of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “Service is at the heart of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission to build opportunity and advancement across the restaurant industry, and we are proud of our long history of partnering with our country’s Armed Forces to help service members improve their culinary and foodservice skills.” 

Friday evening’s awards kicked off a weekend of celebratory events for winning teams at the National Restaurant Association Show in conjunction with Armed Forces Day. Honorees spent the weekend immersed in the NRAEF’s Advanced Management Training Program, where they learned about industry career pathways, the fundamentals of restaurant management and leadership, and developed their own restaurant concepts. The weekend also offered winners the chance to complete their Professional Certification through ServSuccess and interact with industry leaders and innovators at the National Restaurant Association Show.  

“The skills and character displayed by military foodservice personnel are a great fit for our industry, which offers numerous opportunities for career growth and advancement,” said Rob Gifford, president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “We remain committed to helping these American heroes build professional skills while in-service and connect them with post-duty career opportunities.”

The following units were recognized as 2024 Military Foodservice Award winners:

Winners of the Philip A. Connelly Awards, honoring the Army:

  • Active Army Garrison Winner – 223rd Quartermaster Company (Field Feeding), 82nd Division Sustainment Troops Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Liberty, North Carolina
  • Active Army Field Kitchen Winner – 511th Quartermaster Company (Field Feeding), 1st Infantry Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas
  • Army Reserve Field Kitchen Winner – 375th Quartermaster Company, 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Wilson, North Carolina 
  • Army National Guard Field Kitchen Winner – I Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, London, Kentucky

Winners of the Major General W.P.T. Hill Memorial Awards, honoring the United States Marine Corps:

  • Best Management and Mess Attendant Mess Hall – Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Mess Hall 6222, Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan 
  • Best Full Food Service Mess Hall – Marine Corps Installations West, Mess Hall 622, Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona
  • Best Active Field Mess – Marine Forces Pacific, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Combat Logistics Group, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, Camp Pendleton, California
  • Best Reserve Field Mess – Marine Forces Reserves, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Portland, Oregon

Winners of the Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Awards, honoring the Navy:

  • Aircraft Carrier Platform – USS Abraham Lincoln, San Diego, California 
  • Submarine Platform Winner – USS Jimmy Carter, Kitsap, Washington 
  • Small/Medium Platform Winner – USS Winston S. Churchill, Mayport, Florida
  • Large Platform Winner – USS Boxer, San Diego, California 
  • West Coast Winner – Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, California
  • East Coast Winner – Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Gulfport, Mississippi
  • OCONUS Winner – U.S. Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Naval Air Station Bahrain Combined Dining Facility, Bahrain

Winners of the John L. Hennessy Awards, honoring the Department of the Air Force:

  • Active Duty Foodservice Operations Region One – 22nd Force Support Squadron, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas
  • Active Duty Foodservice Operations Region Two – 374th Force Support Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan
  • Active Duty Foodservice Operations – Small Site – 701 Munitions Squadron, Kleine Brogel Air Base, Belgium
  • Active Duty Foodservice Operations – Missile Alert Field Feeding Operation – 90th Missile Wing, F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming
  • Air Force Reserves Foodservice Operations Winner – 919th Special Operations Force Support Squadron, Duke Field, Florida

Winner of the Senior Master Sergeant Kenneth W. Disney Food Service Award, honoring the Air National Guard: 

  • 138th Force Support Squadron, Tulsa, Oklahoma 

Winners of the Forrest O. Rednour Memorial Awards, honoring the United States Coast Guard:

  • Coast Guard Dining Facility of the Year – Small Afloat – USCGC Katherine Walker, Bayonne, New Jersey
  • Coast Guard Dining Facility of the Year – Medium Afloat – USCGC Dependable, Little Creek, Virginia
  • Coast Guard Dining Facility of the Year – Large Afloat – USCGC Alex Haley, Kodiak, Alaska
  • Coast Guard Dining Facility of the Year – Base – Base San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Coast Guard Dining Facility of the Year – Station – CG Station Shinnecock, Hampton Bays, New York
  • Coast Guard Dining Facility of the Year – Training Center and Culinary Support Activity – Tracen Petaluma, Petaluma, California 

Winners of the Captain David M. Cook Foodservice Excellence Awards, honoring the United States Military Sealift Command:

  • Small Ship Category – USNS Grasp, San Diego, California
  • Medium Ship Category – USNS Joshua Humphreys, Norfolk, Virginia 
  • Large Ship Category – USNS William McLean, Norfolk, Virginia
  • Hybrid Ship Category – USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20), Gaeta, Italy

The NRAEF’s 2024 Military Foodservice Awards were sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS National Accounts, Ecolab, Sodexo, BJ’s, Hormel Foods, Hobart, Sysco, Aramark, Computrition, Cracker Barrel, KeurigDrPepper, McDonald’s, PenFed Foundation, Robert Irvine Foods, and Society for Hospitality Foodservice Management Foundation.

In addition to its annual Military Foodservice Awards, the NRAEF provides training through its Advanced Culinary Training Program (ACTP), connects transitioning military to apprenticeship opportunities, and provides scholarships to support military and veterans pursuing post-secondary education in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Visit to learn more.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF): As the supporting philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF’s charitable mission includes enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development, and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower, and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready/HOPES – Partnering with community based organizations to provide people with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and the Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited apprenticeship programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF, visit