USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) (HST) Food Service division won the coveted Capt. Edward F. Ney Award Feb. 24 for the fourth time, confirming what Sailors and Marines aboard the ship already knew - that Truman's food service is the best in the fleet.
The prestigious Ney Award is annually awarded to the highest performing food service operation throughout the fleet.
According to Truman's Food Service Officer Chief Warrant Officer John LuKeivic, the stakes are always soaring when Truman works toward a goal as lofty as this one, but this year, the ante was a little bit larger than average.
"Normally, it's a winner from the West coast and the East coast, and it's been that way as long as I can remember," said LuKeivic. "This year, it was a little bit different - for the aircraft carrier category, we were actually up against USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), so it was us against them for one overall winner. Winning this Ney Award was a huge deal."
"We are recognized as the best food service organization in the United States Navy, and it's a privilege to work for this supply team and bring the Ney back to HST," added Senior Chief Culinary Specialist (SW) Susan Reece.
The road to winning this rather weighty award was paved with hard work from every member of the ship's Food Service Division. Every part of the crew, from the Truman bakeshop to the serving lines in the two enlisted galleys, became proficient authorities in their job field. And they did it quickly.
"Before deployment, normally you have a crew that's been with you for a while, but we had about an 80 percent turnover, and we got all [Sailors] right out of 'A' school," said LuKeivic. "It was a major accomplishment for them."
According to LuKeivic, the real winner is not only the command, but also the new, junior Sailors who worked diligently for months, sharpening their skills in preparation for the Ney Award inspection.
"It's a one-day inspection, but there are lots of things to do every day," said Master Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) David Graef. "We have an old saying around here, 'Think Ney every day.' It's a reminder that when the inspectors come here, we don't have to put on a show, because this is what we do every single day."
During the inspection, the judges rigorously examine every aspect of the organization, and only those with the highest standards can meet their high expectations.
"They look at everything - records, inventory, sanitation, preparation," said LuKeivic.
"There was a lot of nervousness the day they came in," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Michael Smith. "They got here at seven in the morning. By eight, they were already walking through the galley doing their pre-inspections. So it was pretty exciting - nervous, but exciting."
Between the late October inspection date for the award and actually receiving it, Truman and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 battle-ax team had four port calls, three major holidays, and served more than 286,000 eggs and 87,000 lbs. of chicken.
The wait was worth it, though, to hear that all of the hard work Truman's culinary specialists did finally paid off, giving them bragging rights for years to come, and of course, a great sea story to tell.
The Harry S. Truman Strike Group, consisting of USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Mason (DDG 87), USS Monterey (CG 61), USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8), USS Albequerque (SSN 706) and the aircraft from embarked CVW-3, deployed Oct. 13 for its second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the global war on terrorism.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75.