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    Oregon Soldier’s eagerness keeps vehicle readiness ‘In the Green’

    Oregon Soldier’s eagerness keeps vehicle readiness ‘In the Green’

    Photo By Master Sgt. John Hughel | Oregon Army National Guard Sgt. Jessica Edwards, an Automated Logistical Specialist...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. John Hughel 

    Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office

    SALEM, Ore. - Over the course of the past twelve months, members of the Oregon National Guard have been tasked with multiple short suspense missions responding to the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the community. Regularly, many of these assignments revolve around logistics and vehicle readiness to transport personnel and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when needed thought-out the state.

    For the 1186th Military Police Company, having been dispatched for civil disturbance response and security check points on firefighting missions, being able to move out quickly is the name of the game.

    Sgt. Jessica Edwards has been assigned as an Automated Logistical Specialist in the ORARNG for over nine years. The job encompasses a variety of management and record keeping skills to ensure that the fleet of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or 'Humvee's' is ready to roll.

    Edwards helped prepare vehicles and commanders for State Active Duty (SAD) missions this year, but specifically during the most recent civil disturbance, the response was required in less than 23 hours. She coordinated the completion of 50% of the non-mission capable vehicles to return to a ‘fully mission capable' status.

    Her diligence and work ethic has not gone unnoticed by her supervisors.

    “She is the most junior Soldier we've had in this position, (Equipment Specialist in the SMM office) she jumps right in and is nose to the grindstone, and has been able to streamline much of this entire process,” explained Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ronald Higginbotham, referring to the response, who serves as the Deputy Surface Maintenance Manager. “On paper, it looks like we have a ton of stuff to fix but in reality, it’s items like batteries or minor repairs.”

    With the unit being shorthanded during the last deployment, Edwards ‘No-Fail Attitude,’ helped fill in the gaps with three other members gone during the parts of the summer.

    “Getting the right equipment to the right people as quickly as possible is important to getting the mission done,” said Higginbotham. “She was taking on not only the administrative side of the job but, doing some of the maintenance management with the vehicles; she’s just a wonderful person to have around!”

    For the last two COVID-19 Task Forces: TF Assurance and TF Alliance, Sgt. Edwards has been assisting supply sergeants with the resources they need.

    “I am a full-time technician so a lot of them come to me when they need help,” said Edwards. “I love my unit so, with all these important assignments, I wanted to make sure everything was done properly.”

    Accounting for mission-capable vehicles is essential even during ideal circumstances. Keeping them organized during vital domestic missions and shorthanded has been a bigger challenge.

    “The Brigade says, ‘We need to get so many vehicles up and running,’ so I look at the numbers and see what work orders can be closed out and where the strength in numbers can be met,” she said.

    Many times if they are short in vehicles, Edwards will contact other units for support and back up and how quickly they can be dispatched is critical to doing the mission.

    “In some situations, if we get a request for 32 vehicles and we’ve got 24 that are ready, the Brigade will take those numbers that I’ve allotted for, then get those missing 8 [vehicles] from another Battalion...that’s a big part of my job; I get them the information they need to succeed.”

    In the telework environment due to the COVID-19 restrictions, it’s been an added challenge to keep a physical inventory at times. Edwards said that getting into the Armory can be an ‘every-other-day thing right now,’ as well as balancing having kids at home because the schools are in remote learning too.

    “Any parent in these Covid times can attest to how some days are just rough,” she said with a resigned laugh. “You’re trying to do 8-hour days with people calling and your kids are screaming. So I get up early and work, then when it’s their nap time I can get more done and finally late in the evening when my husband is home to help.”

    As a dual military family, they have been able to balance both their mission requirements and the Homefront. Her husband, Staff Sgt. Brian Edwards is the unit Supply Sergeant.

    “It can be trying but I think like most families when kids can get back to school or daycare then there will be a feeling of normality with work-life balance.”

    The challenge is something she’s accustomed to since she began her career in the military on a good-natured dare. “I had a friend that said I wasn't’ strong to join the Army -- I told him, ‘I bet you I can...that was 9 years ago!”

    That decision to join the National Guard is not lost on her supervisors and staff who depend on Edwards ‘all-in energy’ and proactive can-do attitude.

    “I am so impressed with this young leader and everything she has brought to the team,” said Lt. Col. Tannis Mittelbach, Assistant Deputy Chief Staff Logistics for the 821st Troop Command. “She will work on a moment's notice, come in early, stay late, and log extra time to get the mission complete.”

    “What she (Sgt. Edwards) done to get all our vehicles and other data into the GSSS-Army system is impressive in itself,” said Mittelbach.

    The Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army) is a two program system. The first component is an automated information system that serves as a logistics support system for joint transformation for Army sustainment. The second component provides a single source for data and business intelligence. This supports a rapid force that can be calculated for battlefield functionals to include arming, fixing, fueling, sustaining, and tactical logistics financial processes.

    "It is critical for logistical readiness that equipment and their maintenance schedules are loaded in the system of record ensuring it’s safe to operate and fully mission capable,” Mittelbach said, explaining that Edwards has helped everyone in the 821st Troop Command better understand GCSS-Army and with fully trained Commanders. “She has trained all 821st Commanders with their maintenance program; this has helped everyone as we have been tasked eight times in the last year for a domestic operation assignment.

    "She’s really an impressive Soldier in every sense of the word.”



    Date Taken: 03.16.2021
    Date Posted: 03.16.2021 18:12
    Story ID: 391551
    Location: SALEM, OR, US 

    Web Views: 336
    Downloads: 1