402nd AFSB commander's conference builds competence, camaraderie
July 3, 2008
LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad Iraq - Communication is the key when it comes to running a highly efficient unit, especially when that unit is spread out over thousands of square miles.
Despite the challenges faced on the battlefield, more than 40 key leaders from locations throughout the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade area of operations gathered June 5 - 6 for a face-to-face commander's conference hosted by Brigade Commander Col. Robert P. Sullivan.
The conference featured a variety of briefings, seminars and breakout sessions to inform and educate participants. Sessions included a LOGCAP brief, an MRAP update, battle rhythm training, an AFSB structure briefing and more.
"The commander wants to ensure that everybody on the AMC team here on the battlefield is focused on the right missions, know what the priorities are, and that we are all pulling on the same rope, in the same direction at the same time to achieve efficiency and teamwork in support of the combatant commanders and the Soldiers over here fulfilling their missions," said Jimmy Shull, deputy to the commander, 402nd AFSB.
"This synchronizes everyone and baselines the commander's priorities. It also provides an opportunity for participants to learn new things and work with their counterparts. We have commanders who have been here for less than a month, those who are getting ready to leave after 15 months, and everything in between, so this is a great opportunity to share experiences. It is important to meet face-to-face on occasion to assess how we are doing, clarify what we are focused on, and ensure we are headed in the right direction."
Although training was the focus of the conference, teambuilding was a key element as well. Informal events included a pig roast and morning P.T.
Putting names to faces is just one way to bond and better communicate. Getting to know one's contemporaries on a personal level can add to unit cohesiveness as well.
"This was a great opportunity to meet with our counterparts to learn, share ideas, gain perspective, forge friendships and build relationships," said Lt. Col. Monica E. Robinson, Brigade Logistics Support Team chief, 4th Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, is stationed at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, and who was making her first trip to brigade headquarters. "This is a good forum to look at the future and plan where we should be down the road since things are constantly changing."
The conference was beneficial to brigade staff as well.
"This type of activity is extremely important because we are very spread out and theater operations add an extra level of difficulty. It isn't like you can just go on TDY to run down to see somebody," said Michael Morton, chief of the Brigade Plans Section. "Venues like this commander's conference are imperative or we will lose things in translation."
Conference participants included members of the seven-person Organizational Inspection Team from Headquarters, Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., who were in the Brigade's area of operations conducting an assessment. Sullivan invited the team to participate in the conference to further broaden ties throughout the command.
"I'm glad we were invited to participate. Col. Sullivan wanted to expose us to things from the Brigade's perspective and I think we got a much better understanding of their concerns and needs," said Chief Warrant Officer John Walsh, assistant chief of staff for logistics, Headquarters, ASC. "There is no better way to learn what is happening in the field other than to experience it yourself or learn from those who have experienced things first-hand."