45th is ‘Sustainment Unit for Pacific’

| May 15, 2015 | 0 Comments
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jason Jonas, 45th Sust. Bde., helps Spc. Crystal Biggs of the 25th Infantry Division navigate through the Army publications system website during a class at the Digital Training Facility on Wheeler Army Airfield, March 30.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jason Jonas, 45th Sust. Bde., helps Spc. Crystal Biggs of the 25th Infantry Division navigate through the Army publications system website during a class at the Digital Training Facility on Wheeler Army Airfield, March 30.

Story and photos by Sgt. Erin Sherwood
45th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs
8th Theater Sustainment Command


SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Coined “The Sustainment Unit for the Pacific,” the 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, has a long history of providing support during contingency operations, humanitarian missions and joint logistics exercises across the world.

A part of maintaining this level of support is validating Soldiers’ basic knowledge with proper procedures.

One approach the seasoned leaders in the unit are taking to ensure mission readiness is by implementing a Command Maintenance Evaluation Team (COMET) designed to streamline the way sustainment personnel conduct unit-level inspections. The team enhances unit readiness by identifying and resolving equipment and maintenance management issues affecting that unit’s ability to provide support to the Pacific Theater.

This training impacts contingency operations and the way these units can support humanitarian aid and disaster-relief missions. It can involve anything from proper preventative maintenance checks and services on motor pool vehicles to the best way to manage an entire shop of staff and equipment.

“The first day I started working in the support operations shop, I asked what we were doing to support the units within the 8th Theater Sust. Cmd.,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kent Shepherd, senior ground maintenance warrant officer. “I suggested we start a COMET because there were no resources on Schofield Barracks that offered training assistance for unit inspections. We realized there were some experience gaps between maintenance required and Soldier knowledge, and we wanted to fix that.”

Current initial entry Soldiers aren’t certified on the Standard Army Maintenance System, an essential program used by sustainment personnel Armywide. As the contingency operations slow down, it gives the seasoned professionals an opportunity to reintegrate standard Army practices, and with Hawaii’s limited training opportunities because of geographical location, the COMET was the right fit.

“There was a program in place before all of these rapid deployments for the sustainment Army,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jason Jonas, Armament Systems Maintenance warrant officer for the 45th Sust. Bde. “When the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan kicked off, it was discontinued because we didn’t have the manpower in garrison. Now that we have a full staff again, we can recreate the inspection team and model it around an expeditionary agenda.”

Jonas and Shepherd began their program by inspecting and communicating with units islandwide, and then identifying the challenges each faced. They also pinpointed who needed what training.

“A lot of junior officers and senior noncommissioned officers do not have that formal training on how to manage a motor pool,” said Jonas, “mostly because their units are deployed or resetting from a deployment from the past few years.”

“We identified these shortfalls and based our program around these knowledge needs,” added Shepherd. “We can’t officially certify Soldiers, but what we can do is give them the tools they need to be successful on the job.”

After their assessments, Jonas and Shepherd created accelerated daylong classes to teach anywhere from 10-20 Soldiers at the Soldiers’ place of work. They have trained more than 250 Soldiers in the past three months on various maintenance tasks.

One of their most popular classes focuses on military publications, which teaches Soldiers how to order specific equipment and field manuals for their shop. Knowing how to use this Army system can help them prepare their unit for future inspections.

“The class was helpful for me because there are times when I need a technical manual or am unsure about the function of a certain part,” said Sgt. Clint Hornaday, a 25th Infantry Division missile technician. “The publications class gave me the tools I need to order them, so I can properly instruct my Soldiers on how to repair equipment.”

The team also offers services, such as segmented inspections, desk-side visits, arms room maintenance, standard operating procedure instructions, and assistance with filing, management and proper labeling techniques.

“These classes are an opportunity for executive officers and senior noncommissioned officers to have dialogue with a senior warrant officer about how to run a motor pool or manage a shop floor,” said Shepherd. “We also take everything we teach along with sample standard operating procedures and post them in a portal online, so resources are easily accessible.”

“In the end, it really comes down to communication” added Jonas. “We want units to know we are there as a resource to help. If we know about an issue, we can provide an answer instead of them having to search for it.”

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Category: News, Sustainability

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