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    Sky Soldiers Win Deployment Excellence Award

    Accepting the Award

    Photo By Maj. Chris Bradley | Staff Sgt. Marvin Goodman (Left), Transportation Corps Command Sergeant Major Vickie...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Chris Bradley 

    173rd Airborne Brigade

    VICENZA, Italy – In a ceremony at Ft. Lee, Va., Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade accepted the trophy for the Chief of Staff Army Deployment Excellence Award, May 1.

    The 2018 award recognized the brigade’s outstanding staff and unit level work to deploy units across multiple countries in the Black Sea region for Exercise Saber Guardian 17.

    “It was an honor for us to win this award,” said Staff Sgt. Gordon Henry, 173rd Airborne Brigade Mobility Noncommissioned Officer in Charge. “This was the test of how well our movement teams had learned their roles. I think Saber Guardian was our turning point” for being able to operate efficiently and effectively as a brigade movement team.

    Saber Guardian 17 was a U.S. Army Europe led annual exercise that required the brigade to deploy forces simultaneously across Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria in the summer of 2017.

    Deploying a combat brigade across so many nations is already a planning and logistics feat for any unit. The 173rd Airborne had to solve the additional requirement of deploying its units from home-bases in Italy, Germany and Austin, Texas.

    “Our communication throughout the mission, and our normal practice of keeping the units north of the Alps (two maneuver BNs) in the loop” ensured that everyone was able to react quickly whenever there were deviations from the plan, Henry said.

    “The ability to use all the different modes of transportation sets this brigade apart,” said Staff Sgt Robert Goodman II, Transportation and Movement NCOIC for the 173rd Support Battalion. “Sea transport was the only mode we did not use. Rail, air and ground movement were all heavily used.”

    The award is presented every year for excellence in deploying units for any type of deployment, including collective training and overseas contingency operations.

    The brigade would not have been able to compete for, let alone win this prestigious award without the competence and meticulous planning by the Brigade Movement Team, Air Team and the Movement Control Teams and Branch Movement Control Teams across the European theater.

    Winning this award represents the brigade staff and support elements’ ability to thrive in the irregular and unique environment that is the European theater. It also reflects some of the more unique operating methods employed by the brigade to succeed in this environment.

    “We used frequent communication and a diverse PACE (Priority, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency) plan to ensure communications synchronization for transportation assets across all our units,” said Goodman.

    “Then we used a liaison officer at the Black Sea Area Support Team and that paid off extremely well,” Goodman continued. This was especially valuable for working with the allied and partnered nations that were also participating in the exercise.

    The purpose of the award is to recognize Army units (Active, Reserve, National Guard) for outstanding accomplishments which meet or exceed Army deployment standards. Additionally, the award seeks to encourage units to adopt current Command Deployment Discipline Program procedures recognized for efficiently deploying units on the modern battlefield.

    According to Aaron Burr, DEA Program Manager for U.S. Army Europe, and a panelist on the annual evaluation board of the DEA competition, actively utilizing critical personnel such as Unit Movement Officers, Air Load Planners, Container Control Officer and Hazardous Materials Cargo Certifiers is critical for a successful deployment, and for winning the DEA.

    "Each company must be fully ready to fight tonight and be self-sustaining," said Burr. "The CDDP evaluates and validates unit readiness."

    Overall, the award represents the dedication of every Sky Soldier to the Herd’s missions in Saber Guardian, and to the brigade’s on-going mission as the Army Europe Contingency Response Force.

    Both Goodman and Henry were able to travel to Ft. Lee to accept the award in person from Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Drushell, Chief of U.S. Army Transportation Corps.

    They, as well as the entire brigade are implementing the lessons learned from Saber Guardian into this year’s large scale exercises, Saber Strike and Saber Junction.

    “We now have contingency plans for events, and that simplifies our process, said Goodman. “Getting ahead has been the best way to prove that we have learned our lessons.”

    The award of the Deployment Excellence Award is a concrete reminder to all members of the brigade that wherever Sky Soldiers jump or land, they do it with professionalism and rigorous planning that is the hallmark of airborne forces.

    For more information about the Deployment Excellence Award, or to apply, go to



    Date Taken: 05.14.2018
    Date Posted: 05.15.2018 07:21
    Story ID: 276916
    Location: VICENZA, IT 

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