Keesler May Have Best Grub In The Air Force

Keesler is waiting to find out if it will have bragging rights as the best place to eat in the Air Force for the second straight year. In 2004, the food services program won the Hennessy Award for excellence in preparation, sanitation, management, and more. This year the base is one of eight finalists.

Bobby Cothern just finished basic training in Texas. He says meals there were, well, basic.

"I don't know how it tasted because didn't get a whole lot of time to eat it," he said.

Cothern says chow time changed for the better when he arrived at Keesler Air Force Base.

"There's a lot more to choose from, instead of that's what you've got there and that's what you get."

Each year more than two million meals are served inside Keelser's seven dining halls. Food service employees say the variety allows someone hungry for a home cooked meal and a friend who wants a hamburger and fries to dine in the same place.

Food Service officer Glen Jones said "We have a subway style sandwich here. We have Coca-Cola. We have Yoplait, ice cream. Whatever you can find downtown, Keesler Air Force base has it."

"For the dollar, it's the best," said airman Jamie Kitchen. "Because off base I'd have to spend $10 to $12 to get the same amount of food."

The Hennessy trophy for outstanding food service stands proudly in the Azalea dining hall. It symbolizes what a caring, hard working staff can do.

"It's fantastic," said Jones. "It's a group effort. Everybody does a superb job at Keesler Air Force base from senior leadership all the way down."

"The people are very polite and they seem to care more than just pushing bodies in and pushing bodies out," said Kitchen.

Food service workers say if they recapture the Air Force's top award, it will be an even bigger win for the military men and women who eat here.

One reason Keesler's Food Service officer feels confident of a repeat victory is that one of the base's oldest dining halls has been completely renovated since last year's competition.