MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 participated in the Maj. Gen. William Pendleton Thompson Hill Award competition at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Nov. 18, 2014.
The W.P.T. Hill Award for food service was originally established in 1985 with the purpose of improving food service operations. Additionally, it allows Marines from across the Marine Corps to test their skills and be recognized as the best field and garrison mess Corps-wide.
“The W.P.T. Hill competition is each unit’s chance to show the rest of the Marine Corps community that they have the best chow and the best Marines preparing it,” said Sgt. Thomas Lavar, a food service specialist with MWSS-274 and a native of Gilbertsville, N.Y.
MWSS-274 Marines set up a field mess on the air station and conducted a full field mess as they would in a true field environment. MWSS-274 competed against Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 27 for the chance to advance in the competition.
The competition was judged based on a checklist of criteria, said Lavar. Representatives from II Marine Expeditionary Force food services division judged the units based on a list that included site layout and how well the Marines set up and executed a mess in a simulated field environment, command participation, sanitation, and the temperature, presentation and taste of the chow.
“We hit a few bumps along the way, but all the Marines came together to make this successful,” said Lavar. “All the Marines rose to the occasion and performed well.”
According to Gunnery Sgt. Ramon Gardiner, mess chief with MWSS-274, initial preparation for the competition started in early November.
“My favorite part about having my Marines involved in this competition is that I get to teach and train them,” said Gardiner. “I love seeing the Marines push through when times get hard. They get to see the outcome and success of all the hard work they put in.”
According to Gardiner, the unit has a few areas to work on before attending another competition, but believes that overall, the day was a success.
“We are proud of our Marines and can’t wait to see the outcome of the competition,” said Gardiner, a native of Kingston, Jamaica. “We are looking forward to hopefully representing II MEF in the competition against Headquarters Marine Corps.”