CAMP CARROLL, Republic of Korea -- For the second year in a row, Echo company “Executioners”, 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, was named the top medium-sized maintenance company for U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) in the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence (AAME) competition.
The AAME is conducted each year to recognize Army units that have demonstrated excellence in maintenance operations. Each unit is evaluated on the effectiveness of their maintenance procedures, Soldier competency, and leadership involvement in unit maintenance. Units compete in one of three categories based upon their size: small (10 to 100 Soldiers), medium (101-300 Soldiers), or large (301 or more Soldiers). There are three phases of the competition for participating units in South Korea. These phases include inspections and evaluations at the Eighth Army level (Phase I), USARPAC (Phase II), and Department of the Army (Phase III).
Instead of becoming complacent after winning the Eighth Army title (Phase I), Echo Company continued to improve on their shortcomings through guidance given by the evaluators. They developed their standing operating procedures to include updating memorandums with newly assigned personnel. Additionally, the unit conducted additional training on the functions of Global Combat Support System - Army (GCSS-A) - a system that is still fairly new to the Army. Updates were made on vehicle mileage, service packets, Army Records Information Management System (ARIMS) labels and the low usage program. Most importantly incoming Soldiers were evaluated on their key tasks and responsibilities. All this led to the company securing the win at the USARPAC level (Phase II), and moving on to compete at the DA level.
“One of the biggest challenges I had preparing for the inspection was trying to pick up where the last clerk left off and make whatever system they had in place better so that we could have minimal deficiencies for the inspection,” said Spc. Zavier L. Charming, Echo Company Prescribed Load List Clerk.
Despite a high personnel turnover rate, those who depart for their next duty station ensure to leave a foundation of maintenance excellence that incoming Soldiers continue to build on. This continuity is promised through leadership that constantly seeks to go from good to great, and maintain standards that are always “above right.”
“Soldiers and Noncommissioned Officers of Echo Company continually challenged themselves to run and maintain a more efficient and professional maintenance program,” said Staff Sgt. Marcus B. Galindo, Echo Company Motor Sergeant.
As a unit that provides support, repair, and resupply for seven units across the southern region of the Republic of Korea, Echo Company has a tremendous responsibility as the primary logistical asset for 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
“Throughout my experience in multiple AAME competitions, I have realized that each evaluation is unique and you will never know what areas will be the deciding factor for a unit to be the winner,” Chief Warrant Officer 2 Josue A. Castro, Echo Company Automotive Maintenance Technician, said. “That’s why you should always be ready in every area regardless of if it gets inspected or not.”
Not only is the competition about winning; it is a tool for units to conduct an honest assessment to determine a unit’s ability to provide maximum combat support. Maintaining and continuing to build an effective maintenance program is an essential responsibility of all leaders in the Army. Command emphasis is a critical part of establishing a multi-faceted maintenance program that can support various types of units throughout the Army.
The Eight Army Command Sergeant Major (CSM), Command Sgt. Maj. Richard E. Merritt, presented Echo Company with the FY’17 USARPAC winner’s plaque October 16, 2018, just three weeks shy of the FY’18 results where Echo Company retained first place. During this presentation, Echo Company commander Capt. Terence K. Ngoh, described how his company is able to achieve and maintain excellence at a high level.
“The key to success is to create an atmosphere that encourages Soldiers and leaders to develop an extra likeness for what they do on a daily bases,” Ngoh said. “Echo Company maintains an excellent maintenance program not to compete in the AAME, but rather because the Soldiers and leaders understand that it’s the right thing to do.”