Army Renames Annual Award for AUSA Director

Army Renames Annual Award for AUSA Director

Troy Welch
Photo by: AUSA/Luc Dunn

The Army is renaming its annual awards program for culinary specialists after one of the Association of the U.S. Army’s own.

Beginning in January, the Philip A. Connelly Awards Program will be renamed the Command Sgt. Maj. Troy J. Welch Award for Food Service Excellence. Welch, who retired from the Army in July 2007, has been AUSA’s director for NCO and Soldier Programs since January 2017.

“Having an award that has been around for a little over five decades named after me is not only humbling, it’s one of the greatest honors of my life,” Welch said.

The Army’s awards program for its culinary specialists is part of the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Combined Logistics Excellence Awards. The annual competition includes the Award for Army Maintenance, the Deployment Excellence Award, and the Supply Excellence Award Programs, and it focuses on sustaining readiness in maintenance, deployment operations, and supply and support operations.

The idea to rename the Connelly Award and the other logistics excellence awards is part of a larger effort to “honor living legends” and give soldiers something to aspire to and connect with, said Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers, sergeant major for the deputy Army chief of staff for logistics, G-4.

“I thought it would be a great idea to look at how we name our awards that our soldiers work hard for,” he said.

The Connelly Award was named for a former food service management specialist who worked in civilian and military programs to align training, career development and jobs. 

Connelly, who never served in the Army, wasn’t a recognizable figure to soldiers, Sellers said, and leaders wanted to name the awards after soldiers who have “contributed a lot” to the Army.

Welch was the overwhelming choice, Sellers said.

Enlisting in June 1977 as a food service specialist, Welch served in every leadership position from first cook and shift leader to command sergeant major. His last tours of duty included command sergeant major for United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces-Korea and Eighth U.S. Army, and sergeant major for the deputy Army chief of staff for logistics, G-4.

He is the first food service specialist to serve at the major command level, and he is an inductee into the Quartermaster Hall of Fame.

Welch’s Army career is impressive, Sellers said. In addition to being the first culinary arts or quartermaster soldier to be selected as the senior enlisted leader for U.S. Forces-Korea, he also was the first food service soldier, in the 92G MOS, to be the G-4 sergeant major and the command sergeant major of an expeditionary sustainment command, Sellers said.

Welch also continues to serve even though he’s no longer on active duty, Sellers said.

“Troy has really broken the glass ceiling for that MOS,” he said. “Historically, it’s been kind of pigeonholed into the area of food service operations. He has branched so far outside of that and made it possible for an entire MOS to look at that specialty in a different way.”