McConnell in the running for best dining facility in the Air Force

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class William Lunn
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The Chisholm Trail Dining Facility at McConnell Air Force Base is in the running for this year’s John L. Hennessy Trophy Award given for having the best food service programs in their region.

“Bringing this win home to McConnell would mean everything, I think it would show our young Airmen what can be done though teamwork and communication.” said Tech. Sgt. Rontera Powell, 22nd Force Support Squadron Food service superintendent. “Our biggest priorities here is keeping our Airmen safe and providing quality customer service.”

The competition this year includes Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The competition rules have changed over the years. Bases are now competing against each other based on geographical locations, whereas in the past they competed based on size. There are five internal criteria that must be met: kitchen operations, serving and dining, training personnel, sanitation and management.

“If you walk into the Chisholm Trail Inn Dining Facility right now, you’ll feel the anticipation, celebration, and excitement in the air,” said Lt. Col. Melissa Jamison, 22nd FSS commander. “My Airmen serve the best customers in the world daily, and you can see it reflected in their pride and ownership of the facility, processes, and programs. My Airmen are already winners in my book. We are excited to showcase their efforts to the Hennessy evaluation team.”

As the team of examiners arrived from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, they were greeted by force support Airmen who took them on a tour. They went into the kitchen to view food preparation operations, then to the area where food is served and displayed to assess how Airmen interact with the DFAC. To wrap things up, the McConnell Airmen and examiners gathered to watch a video showing off all the things the Chisholm Dining Facility can do.

The award the force support Airmen are competing for is named after John L. Hennessy, who left an indelible mark on the food service industry, particularly through his pioneering efforts in military food service during World War II. As the director of the Quartermaster Food and Container Institute for the Armed Forces in Chicago, he spearheaded initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality and efficiency of food provision to millions of military personnel.

This is the first time in 11 years McConnell has made it this far in being selected for this award and this would be the first year winning the Hennessy Award.