Logistics Assistance Reps Lauded
May 20, 2009
- Six deployments. That's how many times Byron Lewis has been "in the sand box" with America's Soldiers.
- LARs provide technical assistance and logistics support on Army aircraft and missile systems.
- "When I'm having trouble dealing with the stress, I will go talk to Soldiers. They always make me feel better," he said.
- You've looked your families in the eyes and said 'I need to go do the nation's work.
Six deployments. That's how many times Byron Lewis has been "in the sand box" with America's Soldiers.
As a Logistics Assistance Representative with AMCOM's Integrated Materiel Management Center, Lewis has deployed to Iraq six times from Fort Bragg, N.C., since March 2003. During those deployments, he has provided support to the 117th Cavalry of Fort Campbell, Ky.; the 26th Cavalry of Hawaii; and the 16th Cavalry of Fort Carson, Colo., since March 2003.
On May 13, he and 138 other AMCOM LARs from across the nation were recognized for their deployments during the AMCOM LAR Conference at the Westin Hotel. Lewis was the only LAR recognized with six deployments on his resume.
LARs provide technical assistance and logistics support on Army aircraft and missile systems. For Lewis, that means sharing his maintenance and repair expertise on the 58 Delta and Black Hawk helicopters with Soldiers in theater. He assesses damages to helicopters, makes recommendations on what kinds of repairs are needed, provides technical expertise on those repairs, and assists in expediting supplies and parts needed to keep helicopters flying.
Why does this retired first sergeant volunteer to deploy as a government civilian over and over again'
"I love my job, first of all," he said. "I love everything I do with my job. It is something I feel passionate about. I told my boss that 'Anytime you need anyone to leave for a deployment at a moment's notice, I'm available.'"
Besides loving his job, Lewis, who is not married and has grown children, said not having a family at home waiting for him makes it is easier to deploy for six-month periods. And his love for Soldiers makes deployments worthwhile, interesting and rewarding.
"That's what drives my love for this job - my love for Soldiers," he said. "You've got to love Soldiers to love this job. It's all intertwined with working with Soldiers. The customer comes first and the customer is the Soldier."
Lewis said he often mentors young Soldiers when he's not working 16-hour or longer days.
"When I'm having trouble dealing with the stress, I will go talk to Soldiers. They always make me feel better," he said. "As LARs, we do what we need to do to succeed at war. But, as a human being, I also like to counsel Soldiers and share my experiences with them and help them work through issues."
The experience and expertise of LARs make them invaluable to the Army, said AMCOM commander Maj. Gen. Jim Myles.
Joking with the large group of mostly men dressed in their best clothes, Myles said "Look at all these LARs with their ties on! Are you kidding me' I'm used to seeing a flight line with all kinds of uniforms and varieties. I've seen many of you dressed a lot differently as I've been watching you raise us Soldiers."
Myles said the continuity of service, and in-depth technical knowledge and experience of LARs makes it possible for the Army to keep the up-tempo in theater. It is the LARs who ensure that Soldiers maintain the quality of aircraft and missile systems.
Myles said recognizing LARs for their dedication to the mission and their deployment duty is long overdue.
"We want to recognize you for the incredible work you do for our Soldiers," he said. "You've deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom for three, four, five, six deployments. Those deployments are six months. But we can't miss the point. Every one of you has had to go to your family and say 'I've got to go again.' You've looked your families in the eyes and said 'I need to go do the nation's work.'"
He told the LARs that they are the "backbone of the Army ... You are so critical to this fight ... All of you are leading the engagement. With scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, you are making sure the Army standard is being maintained ... As a whole I want to thank you for what you do."
A total of 139 LARs were individually recognized during the program for their deployments. In addition, some were presented with the Bronze Order of St. Michael, an award given to those who have contributed significantly to the promotion of Army aviation in ways that stand out in the eyes of the recipient's seniors, subordinates and peers; and the Honorable Order of St. Barbara, an award given to those who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence, served Army artillery with selflessness and contributed to the promotion of the artillery branch.
The following LARs received the Bronze Order of St. Michael: Jeff Cinader, Joni Dauenhauer, Artura Gamboa, Pat Hopkins, Byron Lewis, Joe Lizama, Daniel O'Connor, William C. Parrish, Bert Stonich, Jeff Winters and Jonathan C. York.
The following LARs received the Honorable Order of St. Barbara: Allan Kessler, Alphie Onuszkanycz. Phillip Tausch, Alex Torres and Don Warnell.
The following LARS were recognized for deployments:
Aca,!Ac Six Deployments - Byron Lewis
Aca,!Ac Five Deployments - Robert Adams, Robert A. Bingle, Timothy A. Brimeyer, Daniel S. Brooks, Joni Dauenhauer, Dana S. Kammeyer, Joe L. Mateo-Sullivan, Dennis Mullen, Tim Settle, Bert Stonich and Jonathan C. York.
Aca,!Ac Four Deployments - Venturo Avila. Edward Barnes, James M. Blake, Robert Blanchette, Jason Brundrige, Nestor De Jesus, James Faircloth, Stephen R. Floyd, Rafael Guzman, John P. Hinchman, Jack E. Killion Jr., Anthony King, Alberto F. Labsan Jr., Lester Linville, Joe Lizama, Max Marble, William A. Moore, Joseph M. Morrow, Bob Nesbitt, Daniel O'Connor, Benny R. Pierce, James F. Ramos, John Salazar, Leslie R. Sermons, Charles L. Sherman, Erick L. Tibeau, Earl Walters and Lawrence Young.
Aca,!Ac Three Deployments - Michael O. Brewer, David Broas, Les Carder, David Cox, David L. Delahoy, Gary Estes, Michael D. Gainey, Adan Garcia, Charles Gladney, Robert V. Jones, Allan Kessler, Michael N. Konor, Harlen Lawrence, Merel Pablo, Robert Nicholas, Robert O'Neil, Estevan Orona, Donald W. Owens, Angelo Perez, Charles Pope, Bobby Ratliff, Anthony Sarroca, Paul Schmitt, Johnie Singleton, Vincent Smith, Phillip Tausch and Daniel K. Whiteman.
Aca,!Ac Two Deployments - Kenneth Belvin, Albert P. Borsella, Lloyd Burke, Clarence Cates, Jeff Cinadar, Tondra Clark, Marrion Cox, Norman Curry, Carlos Disla, Virginio L. Franco, Arturo O. Gamboa, Wade Gary, Robert L. Giles, Robert Haliogowski, Jeff Hebner, Darrel Kaiser, Graciliano Laguerra, John R. Lunnemann, Willie C. Mapp Jr., Dan Norton, Glen B. Oliver, Steve Palmer, William C. Parrish, Prayoth Phongpharnich, Martin Rose, Suthep Sangprawej, Dennis J. Sorensen, Jason Soto, Danny L. Strickland, Ted Talackine, Alex Torres, Curtis J. Ward and Muresh Wignarajah.
Aca,!Ac One Deployment - John Barlow, John F. Carew, Cherry H. Wade, Gary Cope, Danny Crow, Juan Falconrosa, Wayne Fields, John Fleming, Russell K. Fukeda, Julio Jimenez, Joe Magee, Michael Ju, David Lee, Patrick Lindy, Stephen Lomago, John E. McClelland, Tom McDonald, Thomas McLain, Leodis D. Mithcell, Mark O'Bryon, Chris Oleyte, Alphi Onuszkanycz, William Owens, Pamela Parker, Randall M. Reese, Homero A. Reyes, Randal Sanders, Robert Shiltz, Jimm Staranowicz, William M. Taber, Bob Vangilder, Kenneth E. Vines, John Webster and Jeff Winters.