6. The Ney Award

In WESTPAC there was an honor awarded each year called the Ney Award. It was for the best feeding ship in WESTPAC. I have no idea how this award originated but, as I remember, the PICTOR was given the award for several years running during my tour aboard. Of course, we were a floating grocery store, and that gave us a leg up on most of the other ships in the fleet. There were, however, a number of other AFs (Auxhilary Refridgerated) in WESTPAC, so what made the PICTOR so special?

Frankly, I am not surprised we received this honor. The food was quite good aboard our ship. In addition, and this may seem counter-intuitive, the enlisted mess was better than the officer’s mess. They had better cooks than we did. In the officer’s mess all the cooking was done by the stewards and they were, to a man, all of Filipino descent. They were good sailors, obedient and conscientious, which is why they made good stewards. Had they been allowed to cook in their native tradition our food might have been more exciting, but they faithfully followed the standard Navy cookbook and its recipes. That book was not a work of art from a culinary point of view, but it did make a point of supplying recipes from all the different regions of the United States. The first time I ever ate okra, a traditional Southern vegetable, was in the ward room of the PICTOR.

Where Good Things Happened

Where Good Things Happened

I frequently heard  grumbling among the officers about the quality of our grub, but I never once heard such a complaint from the rest of the crew. In fact, it was just the opposite, I often heard the sailors say good things about their cooks. Navy regulations required every meal served in the enlisted mess to be sampled by an officer, and this was a duty that we actually looked forward to.

1st Class Cook Eddie Moton ( I think )First Class Cook Eddie Moton ( I think )

How did this unique situation come about? Who gets the credit? Well, I was not a party to all the goings on behind the scenes, but the name I heard mentioned the most was a First Class Cook named Eddie Moton. My cruise book says that Moton was from Oakland, but I seem to remember that he was originally from Texas. Moton was something of a culinary artist, plain and simple, and that kind of artistry is a difficult thing to maintain when cooking three meals a day for 200 men. He was especially good at barbecue, and his barbecued ribs were to die for. If you were the officer who had the duty to sample the crew’s mess when Moton was barbecuing ribs you were the envy of wardroom; and if you used this as a bargaining chip there is no telling what you might obtain in trade.

(click on image for larger view)

So, in my book, the PICTOR’s success with the Ney Award is directly attributable to First Class Cook Eddie Moton and his crew.

For the final chapter of my experience with the USS PICTOR click here.

Tags: ,

Saturday, February 13th, 2010 U.S. Navy

5 Comments to 6. The Ney Award

  1. This is lovely work your doing. I have never heard about the Ney award, but i must say this is an interesting piece. It’s always good to recognize someone for their talent and services provided as such. This is a definite eye catching story =).

  2. Kadene Samuels on December 6th, 2010
  3. Your welcome Mr. Rob. I actually went to school with an Eddie Moton =) and it’s a coincidence to know that I am reading about his past life and others whom have also rendered their services. Fifty years ago I wasn’t even thought of, but it’s a great privilege to talk a veteran such as yourself. Now I am truly inspired =).

    best regards,

  4. Kadene Samuels on December 6th, 2010

  6. Jim Sheridan on August 13th, 2011
  7. Eddie MOton was my Dad and I remember those days well even though I was only about six years old If you think that was something you should have been in our home there was five of us and Daddy called us his crue not only was He the best cook in yhe world He was allso best Dad in the world He is greatly missed

  8. sheila moton on August 27th, 2011
  9. Hi to you Sheila,

    I am sorry to hear that your father is no longer with us. I only knew him by his reputation. In my experience, it is very seldom that an individual earns the respect of an entire ship’s crew from the quality of his work. He was an artist.


  10. rmason on August 28th, 2011

Leave a comment