USS NASSAU (NNS) -- The Food Service (S2) division aboard USS Nassau (LHA 4) completed the Supply Management Assessment (SMA) April 19, with an outstanding overall score of 97.42 percent.
According to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert Struckman, Nassau's food service officer, the SMA occurs every 18 months and involves all aspects of food service aboard ship. The minimum score to qualify is 90 percent.
"The assessment team primarily looks at accountability, sustainability, sanitation, equipment and storeroom areas," said Struckman, a native of Waterloo, Iowa.
"This is a tough assessment," said Master Chief Culinary Specialist (CS) (SW) Alex Cruz, Nassau's leading culinary specialist. "A normal SMA will hit hard to ensure we're sticking to the instructions."
Both Struckman and Cruz agree the SMA was a challenge and required many extra hours from the S2 crew. According to Culinary Specialist 1st Class(SW/AW) Will Williams, S2's leading petty officer, senior food service personnel were confident they would perform well long before the inspectors arrived.
"I had a good feeling prior to the outbrief that we would do well," said Williams, a native of Houston. "For three months, we were going through the checklist to make sure each area they would be inspecting was covered." Williams said the checklist amounted to routine tasks the S2 staff does on a daily basis.
A major part of any inspection is record keeping, and S2 was no exception. Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Eddy Martinez, S2's records keeper, said he spent about five hours with the inspectors going through the books.
"One thing they check is to make sure we're within our budget, and that our inventory is at 100 percent," said Martinez, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas.
In all, the SMA proved to be a good experience for the entire division.
"The motivation of everyone from the cooks to the food service attendants was fantastic," said Struckman. "The teamwork, leadership and motivation are really what actually gave us the score."
The hard work paid off. Based on the final score, Nassau's CSs hope their next kudo is the prestigious Capt. Edward F. Ney Award, presented to the Navy's best food service divisions in several categories. But for now, it's hard to pass through Nassau's mess decks and not feel the pride of a job well done.
For related news, visit the USS Nassau (LHA 4) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/lha4.