MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Staff Sgt. Kevin M. Johnson, the food service chief for the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, has been recognized by the U.S. Marine Corps as the fiscal year 2017 active duty staff noncommissioned officer winner of the Maj. Gen. William P. T. Hill Memorial Awards Program for Food Service Excellence, Food Service Specialist of the Year.
The award is given to distinguished service members whose professionalism, devotion to duty, and technical expertise has reflected great credit upon themselves and the food service community. The program was started to foster a competitive spirit that improves food service excellence and increases quality of life for Marines and Sailors.
“He is absolutely deserving of this award,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Edwin R. Holloway, the food service chief for II Marine Expeditionary Force. “He’s not only good at his job, but he also embodies the full Marine concept.”
Each year, the program gives awards in four different categories: active duty NCO, reserve NCO, active duty staff NCO and reserve staff NCO. Although Johnson was awarded the Food Service NCO of the Year Award as a sergeant in 2012, the excitement of his achievement was not lost on him.
“I was shaking after I found out,” said Johnson. “I was ecstatic due to the fact that I had won in two different categories. I view it as a career milestone to have won as an NCO and as a staff NCO.”
Johnson was nominated for the award during his time working at Headquarters Regiment, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, as a staff noncommissioned officer in charge. While at that unit, his leadership abilities and professionalism left a lasting impression on the Marines.
“Staff Sgt. Johnson has demonstrated maturity beyond his years and a hunger to improve himself and those surrounding him,” said Capt. Jose E. Alvarado, a logistics officer with HQ Reg., 2nd MLG. “He routinely exceeds expectations and performs in a manner equal to a seasoned gunnery sergeant.”
Johnson’s career as a food service specialist began in 2006 when he attended the Basic Food Service Course at Fort Lee, Va. His passion for the culinary arts has been the main drive to excel in this field.
“I’ve always enjoyed making food for other people,” said Johnson. “I love putting joy on their face from a hot meal.”
As a leader, he is known for being approachable and willing to teach Marines under his charge. Johnson takes a personable approach when mentoring and teaching about food service.
“He’s a very hands-on staff sergeant and is always physically engaged with the Marines,” said Damian A. Sullivan, the group food service officer for HQ Reg., 2nd MLG. “As Marines talk, they say very positive things about him, because he’s engaged and because he teaches them things. He gets kneecap-to-kneecap with Marines and educates them on how food service operations are supposed to be ran.”
This year’s winners will be recognized at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone Campus in Napa Valley, Calif. Winners of the four different categories will receive a plaque during the event.
“This is an honor that many Marines in my field strive for and I am just grateful to be able to receive such award,” said Johnson. “Knowing yourself and seeking self-improvement is the only way to become better and making an impact not only on your Marines but the institution. Nothing is impossible if you put the time and effort in to it.”