Saturday, June 24, 2006

NMCB 74 Galley Striving for Excellence

By Ens. Tim Walker, SC, USN
Food Service Officer
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74

The Camp Shields Galley staff gathered for a photo to commemorate the Five Star Accreditation they received. Included in the photo, seated, from left, are EOCN Christopher Newman, CSSA Montrio Funzie, CS3 Osvaldo Quintanilla, CSSN Eddy Williams, EOCN Susan Knox, CS1 Tony Tierno, CS2 (SW/AW) Michael Young, CSSN Anthony Katimbang, CSSA Carl Douglas, CS3 Ashley Hoskins, and CS3 Miguel Nunez. Kneeling, from left, are I. Asato, S. Nagamine, T. Oiski, M. Tamae, M. Medoruma, M. Akamine, BU3 Asta Hargas, CS3 Kelley Vaughan, UTCN Michael Schmidt, CS2 (SCW) Patricia Alexander, CS3 (SCW) Lacey Seay, and CS3 (SCW) Brenda Rush. Standing, from left, are ENS Tim Walker, LCDR Craig Retzlaff, CSCS (SCW/SW/AW) Calvin Dukes, K. Chinen, M. Kinjyo, T. Kimura, N. Goya, Mrs. K. Kamizato, K. Arakaki, H. Komori, and CS1 (AW) Leslie Schwartz. Not available for the photo were CS1 Danny Hansch, CS3 Herbet Myers, CS3 (SW) Mario Smith, CS3 (SCW) Kisha Hopkins, and CMCN Daniel Bennetch. 
NMCB 74 deployed to Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan, on what was supposed to be a run of the mill Seabee deployment for the galley crew. Six months on the ground operating an undersized galley, and extensive barracks to support a battalion with 400 personnel on the main deployment site.

Upon arrival to Camp Shields, it was discovered that the galley had received Three Star Accreditation the previous year. The procedures, and significance of CNI accreditation were explained and the junior Sailors became intrigued. They wanted to go for the Five Star Accreditation. Suddenly there was a common goal to work towards.

Immediately the crew of the Camp Shields Galley started reviewing the inspection checklist from the previous year's inspection. "We went through the inspection checklist and identified all the areas where we would need improvement. That provided us a strong foundation to build from and got us headed in the right direction," said CSCS Calvin Dukes, Food Service Leading Chief Petty Officer. Thorough in-rate training, which stressed involvement by all culinary specialists, was coupled with an emphasis on brilliance in the basics.

Every member of the galley crew got involved in correcting any known deficiencies. Extensive field days were conducted in off hours to improve the overall sanitation and aesthetics of the galley. Extra training was conducted in all areas of Food Service. Junior cooks would commonly ask the records keeper about the inner workings of FSM and the junior officer of the day was frequently quizzed on break out and inventory procedures. There was even instruction given on preparing garnishing.

The Navy Food Management Team, Yokosuka, come to Camp Shields for a mid-deployment assist visit in September. The team provided invaluable training and materials to the culinary specialists, who were already performing at a level far above their experience. The team also gave an unbiased view of delinquencies that remained in the galley. The visit was a success on all counts, and ended with a recommendation that NMCB 74 place a request for a CNI Five Star Accreditation visit.

Over the deployment the Food Service department supported over 400 personnel in the main galley, Wardroom, and CPO mess. They have also taken great strides to support personnel in all battalion evolutions, project sites, and training exercises around the island, with superior hot meals. The galley also adjusted to 24-hour operations to support all hands while they were preparing to forward deploy personnel to earthquake relief efforts in Pakistan. Not to mention that one-fourth of the CS's returned to homeport, Gulfport, Miss., to deal with the devastation that Hurricane Katrina had left in her wake. Despite all the distractions the dedicated crew kept their focus on the task at hand.

NMCB 74's Food Service Department received validation for all their efforts on Nov. 7 when the NFMT awarded the unit a total score of 813 out of 818 possible points and the Five Star Accreditation.

"Earning a Five Star Accreditation at the Camp Shields galley is a rare feat," according to NFMT Lead Inspector CSC Lester Griffith. "This is the first battalion I've ever inspected that earned the accreditation. In fact, this is by far the best galley I've inspected in the 18 months that I've been doing this job."

Reprinted from the U.S. Navy Supply Corps Newsletter, March/April 2006 issue.

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