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Lt. Col. Harry L. Gardner, commanding officer of Headquarters and Support Battalion, fills a cup with his home-made chili at the H&S Bn. chili cook-off aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, recently.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Justin A. Rodriguez

Headquarters and Support Battalion holds chili cook-off

31 Oct 2013 | Lance Cpl. Justin A. Rodriguez

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Fall is in full-swing, and what better way to warm yourself than with a steaming cup of home-made chili.
With hopes of keeping camaraderie and morale high, Marines and civilian employees held the Headquarters and Support Battalion Chili Cook-Off aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, recently.

Marines competed with 18 combinations of meats, spices and other ingredients for bragging rights and to earn the title of People’s Choice category winner and H&S Battalion Chili Cook-Off champion.

The cook-off provided a fun environment for Marines and civilian employees of the battalion to gather and enjoy chili and each other’s presence.

Marines enjoy attending battalion gatherings because they offer a family-friendly environment, said 1st Sgt. James Delao, company first sergeant of Company B, H&S Bn.

Patrons were invited to purchase tickets at the event, and proceeds went toward the Marine Corps Ball fund.
“All the chili I’ve tasted today was all amazing,” said Delao. “A little friendly competition is good for us, but I’m just glad to see all these Marines here having such a good time.”

Brig. Gen. Robert F. Castellvi, commanding general of Camp Lejeune, and Sgt. Maj. Ernest K. Hoopii, sergeant major of Camp Lejeune, also attended the event to enjoy the chili and determine the official winner of the cook-off.

The judges were given the task of judging competitors’ chili based on texture, smell and taste. The judges were given cups labeled with numbers so they weren’t aware of the Marine they judged.

Marines with H & S Bn., have worked vigorously to succeed in supporting the base, said Castellvi. So, seeing them in a relaxed environment is great, he added.

The official winner was Master Sgt. Dwrena Allen, equal opportunity adviser of Marine Corps Installations-East.

“Seeing so many Marines show up in support of the Marine Corps ball is awesome,” said Allen. “We all came together and enjoyed the cook-off. As the winner, I am the camp’s chili champ.”