USS Wasp (LHD 1) was presented the Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award Aug. 12 during a ceremony held in the hangar bay aboard the amphibious assault ship at Naval Station Norfolk.
The prestigious Ney Award is annually awarded to the highest-performing food service operations throughout the fleet. Wasp took first place honors in the Large Afloat category.
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Rear Adm. David Thomas, Jr., Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, congratulates CS1 Jorge Hernandez, a member of the food service team aboard USS Wasp, who accepted the Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award August 12 on behalf of the Wasp crew during a ceremony held in the hangar bay aboard the amphibious assault ship at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. Wasp took first place honors in the Large Afloat category. (Photo by Jim Kohler)
The award was presented by Rear Adm. David Thomas Jr., Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, and was received by CS1 Jorge Hernandez on behalf of the Wasp crew. "I don't think I've ever seen a higher SMC (Supply Management Certification) score than what your ship earned," Rear Adm. Thomas said. "You should be very proud of what you have accomplished here."
CS1 Hernandez was selected by his leading petty officer to receive the award for the ship because of the time he has been a part of the Wasp food service team - more than four years. "He has been such a huge part of our food service team," said CWO4 Thomas Wayne Cummings, Wasp food service officer. "He has been here through all of the inspection cycles and has worked incredibly hard towards this goal. The entire food service leadership team felt he should represent the command and receive the award on behalf of the ship."
CWO4 Cummings, who arrived aboard Wasp earlier this year, gave all of the credit to the Sailors who manage the day-to-day operation of the Wasp food service organization. "We already had a great crew here when I arrived," CWO4 Cummings stressed. "I've just added my own little twist. There is always room for improvement, no matter how good you think you are. If you're not improving, you are dead in the water." He explained that to be an award winning food service operation, you have to go over and above what other ships are doing. "Ney Award winners are innovators," he said. "I want our crew to see and do things they have never done before. I want our people to be innovators. We spend a lot of time training on scratch cooking and speed scratch cooking. The senior folks here still have a lot of information to share."
In a statement released in March when the Ney Award winners were announced, Rear Adm. Mark Heinrich, Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command, emphasized the focus of today's Navy culinary efforts. "High quality food prepared fresh daily by culinary specialists is one of the biggest morale boosters the Navy provides," Rear Adm. Heinrich said. "More scratch cooking, updated menus and increased on-the-job training for culinary specialists are defining the future of Navy food service."
CS1 Hernandez pointed out that while the food is what everyone sees, the award recognizes more than just excellence in food preparation. "There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that is a big part of what is judged for the Ney Award," he explained. "The judging team looks at your storerooms, record keeping, galley operations, equipment maintenance - everything is a part of the process." He added that, ultimately, their goal is to deliver to the Wasp crew the best possible dining experience. "There are things we do that no other ships are doing. We have two fruit bars available around the clock. Our salad bar has 32 to 35 items instead of the standard 18 to 21. Everything we do, we try to do better than everyone else. We want our crew to feel like they are eating in a five-star restaurant, not aboard a Navy ship."
The Ney Memorial Awards Program is co-sponsored by the International Food Service Executives Association to encourage and recognize excellence in Navy Food Service programs. The goal of the award is to improve the quality of life for Navy personnel. The award is named for Capt. Edward F. Ney, an enlisted Sailor during World War I who later earned his commission as a Supply officer. His work resolving problems within the military's food service industry during World War II contributed to a higher standard of food service in the Navy.
By Jim Kohler, NAVSUP FLC Norfolk Office of Corporate Communications