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The proof was in the pudding, so to speak, regarding the culinary skills of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Headquarters Company, 257th Brigade Support Battalion food service section. But now the best mess section in the Army National Guard – and second best in the reserve component – has the hardware to show for it.

Unit representatives were on hand to receive a plaque, engraved with their achievement in the 2013 Department of the Army Philip A. Connelly Awards Program, during an Oct. 18 ceremony in Daley Hall in the Wisconsin Military Academy, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

The Oak Creek, Wisconsin-based unit won the Region 3 competition at Fort McCoy in August 2013 and served up their best effort outside the Oak Creek armory in March. In both events, the food service section had to prepare a complete meal for about 100 Soldiers in a tactical environment. They were evaluated in 10 categories – supervision and training, headcount operations, request and storage of rations, field food safety, command support, staff appearance and attitude, kitchen site selection and layout, how the food was served, equipment use and maintenance, and food preparation and quality.

Representatives from the 132nd Brigade Support Battalion’s Headquarters Company were also on hand to receive an engraved silver tray for winning Region 3 earlier this year. They will compete for the chance to be named the best reserve component food service section early next year.

“I want to stress how rare this is that a state submits two separate units to compete at the national level two years in a row,” said Sgt. Kyle Edwards, the state food program manager for the Wisconsin Army National Guard. “This is a great achievement.”

Both units’ names were added to a Wisconsin Army National Guard Food Service Excellence plaque, which is displayed at Joint Force Headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin.