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    Oregon’s 1249th Engineer Battalion recognized nationally for logistics excellence

    Oregon’s 1249th Engineer Battalion recognized nationally for logistics excellence

    Photo By John Hughel | Oregon Army National Guard leadership members for 1249th Engineer Battalion gather for...... read more read more

    SALEM, OR, UNITED STATES

    12.21.2021

    Story by Master Sgt. John Hughel 

    Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office

    SALEM, Ore. - Fully mission capable is not just a term thrown around freely with members of the 1249th Engineer Battalion. The Department of the Army recently validated the unit’s motto of “One Step Better,” again this past year recognizing the battalion with a Supply Excellence Award.

    Among Army National Guard units, entered in the Quartermaster competition for Brigade and Battalion, Modification table of organization and equipment (MTOE), the 1249th Engineer Battalion received the Runner-up award for Calendar Year (CY) 20/21. They were evaluated on 18 different areas after electronically uploading inventory and regulatory guidance documents to the Headquarters, Department of the Army.

    These different areas are encompassed in multiple sections ranging from Budget Management, Physical Security, Maintenance Management, and the Command Supply Discipline Program to Financial Liability Investigations of Property Loss.

    “To even make it through the submission process you need to have an outstanding command supply program, which is how brigades nominate their battalions for state level awards,” said Oregon Army National Guard Logistics Sgt. Maj. Christian Watts.

    The step-by-step process takes the best battalion in the brigades and determines which battalion is the best in the state. That selection is submitted to a Region 6 review board, where Oregon and seven other states are evaluated. The 1249th was the overall winner of that level of the competition.

    “This is all part of an annual requirement that the Brigade does an evaluation of every battalion. And each battalion does an evaluation of all of their units annually as well,” Watts said. “It’s a great program here at the 1249th, with great command support.”

    With the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the electronic and virtual inspections relied on the accuracy of the records and two submitted videos for review. There are two years’ worth of records that are submitted and a detailed examination of the battalions Logistics Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

    “I had to present two videos, one was a walk through the 1249th Forward Support company, taking snap shots of supply operations,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jerod Condit, Unit Supply Manager Senior Battalion Logistics Non-Commissioned Officer, explaining the process. “The second video I had to submit was of myself explaining battalion logistics practices and procedures.”

    In a non-Covid year, the inspection process would have a team physically on site performing this evaluation with a hand on inspection.

    “I would rather have them come out here and do a physical inspection --100% for sure,” said Condit, emphasizing the hindrance with the video process. “What’s important is that the inspection team is double-checking that you are following your own SOP…it’s tough to do this virtual.”

    A 16-year member of the Army National Guard, Condit began his career as an Infantry Soldier and Cannon Crewmember prior to becoming a ’92 Yankee,’ Supply Specialist. He works closely with his team to maintain a program that has a long history of success.

    They inspected me first and then brought Staff Sgt. (Angela) Ackland onto the screen and asked her questions to verify how the unit followed the SOP,” Condit said, explaining the virtual on screen inspection segment. “Supply NCO’s are not working as individuals, we are a team, if they fail, I fail… and in turn, if one fails then we all fail.”

    Following the SOP is a significant part of the inspection, as well as making sure a unit is not holding onto excess property.

    “Let’s say you have 10 Humvee’s (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) on the current MTOE, but you actually have 12…they want you to turn in those other 2 Humvee’s because we are no longer getting the funding to maintain those extra vehicles, said Watts.

    Vehicle maintenance and maintaining an accurate inventory system is not a ‘Turn-key’ process, said Watts, explaining that it takes “personnel on the ground to make it happen so that the S-4 does not pass it on from one manger to the next.”

    “Domestic Operations is a big piece of what we do in the National Guard,” he said. “Case in point, we were at work in the office when we received the call for water deliver in the Salem area in the spring of 2018.”

    When the city of Salem announced officials had detected low levels of cyanotoxins in the city's drinking water supply on May 31, 2018, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared an emergency and mobilized National Guard Soldiers. This was a textbook definition of being ‘Fully Mission Capable:’ head to the motor pool, conduct your preventive maintenance checklist (PMCS), dispatch your vehicle, and move out with a quickness!

    Currently, according to Watts, the unit is “98% fully mission capable.”

    “The biggest challenges during Covid-19 were getting our Soldiers here safely and then being able to do the maintenance,” said 1249th Battalion Commander. Lt. Col. Jeremiah Beckert. “We relied heavily on our full time staff when our drill status soldiers couldn’t come in during the first phases of the pandemic.”

    Maintaining the vehicle readiness and keeping the Army standards unbroken has been a source of pride for the unit battalion.

    “We don’t compete against each other, we compete against the standard, and as long as we are meeting or exceeding the standard we are doing the right thing,” said Beckert. “You are either meeting the standard or you’re not.”

    This approach has kept the battalion as one of the best in the Oregon Army National Guard on a consistent basis. In 2018, the unit was runner up for this same award and 2015 was selected as the national winner.

    “Department of the Army doesn’t share the individual evaluation scores, often it comes down to a fraction of a percentage point,” said Watts, noting the battalion’s history of excellence. “There is no way you can compete without your entire team, it takes initiative and deliberate action to make it happen.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 12.21.2021
    Date Posted: 12.21.2021 23:17
    Story ID: 411735
    Location: SALEM, OR, US 

    Web Views: 474
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN