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Wilderness Inn competes for Philip A. Connelly Award

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Curtis Steineke, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade regional food program manager and a Philip A. Connelly competition evaluator, inspects food preparation at the Wilderness Inn dining facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Curtis Steineke, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade regional food program manager and a Philip A. Connelly competition evaluator, inspects food preparation at the Wilderness Inn dining facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Curtis Steineke, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade regional food program manager and a Philip A. Connelly competition evaluator, inspects the food preparation at the Wilderness Inn dining facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Curtis Steineke, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade regional food program manager and a Philip A. Connelly competition evaluator, inspects the food preparation at the Wilderness Inn dining facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Pfc. Laquan Brice, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, prepare a plate of chicken and waffles at the Wilderness Inn dining facility, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 6, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Pfc. Laquan Brice, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, prepare a plate of chicken and waffles at the Wilderness Inn dining facility, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 6, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Curtis Steineke, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade regional food program manager and a Philip A. Connelly competition evaluator, inspects the Wilderness Inn dining facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Curtis Steineke, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade regional food program manager and a Philip A. Connelly competition evaluator, inspects the Wilderness Inn dining facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Curtis Steineke, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade regional food program manager and a Philip A. Connelly competition evaluator, inspects the Wilderness Inn dining facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Curtis Steineke, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade regional food program manager and a Philip A. Connelly competition evaluator, inspects the Wilderness Inn dining facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Soldiers eat at the Wilderness Inn dining facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 6, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Soldiers eat at the Wilderness Inn dining facility at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 6, 2016. The Philip A. Connelly award provides recognition for excellence in the preparation and serving of food in Army dining facilities and during field kitchen operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska --

The Wilderness Inn Dining Facility competed in the Philip A. Connelly competition for the best DFAC in the Department of the Army, and finished the first round of inspection Aug. 3.

 

“The Philip A. Connelly competition is designed to recognize excellence in food service,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Curtis Steineke, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade regional food program manager and evaluator. “Within the Philip A. Connelly competition, we [inspectors] evaluate what you’re doing, what level you are doing it and the attention to detail you are putting in to the things you do on a daily basis.”

 

The Wilderness Inn competed against every Army DFAC within Hawaii and Alaska for the opportunity to represent this region in the competition for the first round of inspection. Then, every regions’ best are inspected in worldwide a final round.

 

Facilities are evaluated on food preparation and quality, administration, command involvement, cleanliness, safety, and more.

 

“Food prep is one of the biggest areas because that is what the customer sees,” Steineke said. “We also look at command involvement and support; how supportive is the chain of command, and are they involved and engaged with operations.”

 

The inspection goes by a point system in which the facility loses points for errors, safety concerns, or whatever the evaluator deems dock-worthy. The score is a composite overall score against a perfect in all areas and how well other facilities did during that round.

 

“To improve our chances, we have to close out our minor repair work orders and start the renovation process to show progress before the big inspection,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Mathis, Wilderness Inn dining facility manager and culinary management noncommissioned officer. “We are planning on a few modifications which includes renovating the blinds, the furniture and the carpet.”

 

 “I think the food, food prep and the overall process is good,” Mathis said. “For the amount of Soldiers we get to complete our mission, we have a steady flow, despite always being busy.”

 

The Soldiers who work at the Wilderness Inn are composed of different units; if one unit goes to the field for training, or deploys, they still have hands on deck.

 

 

“They don’t miss a beat, even though they have people out in the field,” said Jerrold Haskin, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson food program manager. “They do whatever they can to keep the quality of the food up, and they don’t cut from the menu – like today, they are missing a few people, but you don’t see any of the sections closed down.”

 

This facility prides itself on its individuality by providing variety through their normal menu and specialty menu.

 

“We like to think outside the box when it comes to our menu and open our facility to a wider selection,” Haskin said. “Here, we have that local freedom to provide those specialty items.”

 

The specialty bar features signature meals for breakfast and lunch every weekday. Their most popular dish being chicken and waffles, available Wednesday mornings, and an honorable mention is their Friday lunch option of barbeque chicken wings.

 

The Wilderness Inn continues to grow while maintaining the standard of quality food and service.

 

“I really like their layout here and the food is really well prepared,” Steineke said. “They are focusing on all the right things, and [putting] the effort in to doing this right – and it shows.”