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Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Services Flight wins best food service in the Air National Guard

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Services Flight receive the Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth W. Disney Award of Excellence at the Military Foodservice Awards banquet in Chicago on May 19, 2017. The honor is awarded annually to the best food service operation in the Air National Guard. (Courtesy Photo)

Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Services Flight receive the Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth W. Disney Award of Excellence at the Military Foodservice Awards banquet in Chicago on May 19, 2017. The honor is awarded annually to the best food service operation in the Air National Guard. (Courtesy Photo)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Services Flight has won a prestigious award recognizing its food services as the best in the Air National Guard.

The Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth W. Disney Award of Excellence was bestowed on the unit May 19 by the National Restaurant Association during the Military Foodservice Awards, held in Chicago.

Master Sgt. Jennifer Thiery, superintendent of services for the 123rd Force Support Squadron, said she was extremely proud of her Airmen, who also finished third in the Disney completion in 2016.

“They worked incredibly hard to win in 2016,” Thiery said. “When the team just barely missed the mark, they showed even more dedication and determination to ensure we were the best this year. They never wavered and showed the inspectors what we are made of — the best services airmen in the ANG."

The flight was evaluated in five categories: kitchen operations, serving and dining, training of personnel and readiness, sanitation and repair maintenance, and management.

In addition to managing food services at home station, the unit was highly engaged in field operations during the past year, Thiery said.

The flight provided more than 2,400 meals for a communication exercise in Florida and supported a joint medical training exercise in Western Kentucky where nearly 5,000 meals were served. Its members also provided training on the Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen Trailer to three other Air Guard units and supported the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., preparing more than 21,000 meals to feed 3,600 Army and Air Force support personnel.

The unit was equally busy providing community support, executing 173 honor and color guard details that required more than 14,000 miles of travel.

In addition to providing food services, honor guard details, and management of the wing fitness and lodging programs, the flight operates a Fatality Search and Recovery Team that was recently lauded by the National Guard Bureau as one of the top two in the nation.

“We have seen tremendous growth in our personnel and mission,” said Capt. Jonathan Fairbanks, officer-in-charge of the 123rd Services Flight. “For me, it all boils down to attitude. As the flight commander for the past five years, I have seen our skill set improve, but I always say what sets us apart is the Kentucky attitude — doing business with a smile, and showing our customers that we care about supporting them.”

The Kentucky Air National Guard last won the Disney honor in 1998, when it was named the John L. Hennessy Award. It was renamed in 2000 for the late Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth W. Disney, former services superintendent at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee.

According to the Hennessy Travelers Association, an organization that recognizes the best food services in the Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves, the Disney Award program “was established to promote excellence in guest service and meal quality, and inspire high morale, motivation, mission support, and a professional image through pride and spirited competition.”