Fort Lee NCO earns prestigious award
July 21, 2011
FORT LEE, Va. (July 21, 2011) -- A Fort Lee Soldier has been recognized for his work in Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Chad W. Parkening, a transportation management coordinator, was recently named an Excellence in Traffic Management Award winner by the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Parkening, assigned to the Combined Arms Support Command's Analysis and Integration Division, was one of eight 2011 awardees cited by the U.S. Transportation Command element. He said the award is a mark of distinction.
"This award means a lot to me," said the 36-year-old Torrance, Calif., native. "It says I've achieved something beyond the average. It really sets me apart from my peers."
The ETMA winners are honored for a wide-range of transportation duties including support for transportation programming initiatives, deployment readiness operations, ammunition and hazardous material delivery, classified material handling, military airlift routing and logistics support. The awardees represent agencies and organizations throughout the federal government.
Parkening earned the accolade as a result of his deployment to Afghanistan last year. While assigned to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan, Joint Logistics Cell, he handled transportation coordination for rotary and fixed-wing aircraft and host-nation trucking and passenger movement for all special operations efforts.
"We moved around 2,000 troops and coordinated more than 200 airdrops for troops in combat," said Parkening.
Airdrop or aerial delivery is the practice of dropping supplies and equipment from airborne aircraft. It is the preferred method of delivery for friendly forces in Afghanistan, a mountainous country that lacks a modern road system.
"Without airdrops, there would be Soldiers who wouldn't be fed, who wouldn't have mail, who wouldn't have food, water ... the whole shebang," said Parkening. "They wouldn't be able to perform their missions."
Earl Driver, Parkening's supervisor in the Lessons Learned and Quality Assurance section, submitted him for the award after his arrival at Fort Lee.
"He's an outstanding Soldier," said Driver. "I knew he just returned from Afghanistan. We talked about the great work that he did there supporting the special operations forces. It was just remarkable to hear what he'd done as a traffic management coordinator. He is very deserving."
Driver, who added that Parkening's good work continues at Fort Lee, said he thought Parkening had a good chance of winning, despite the fact that he has never submitted anyone for the award.
"I was confident that his (award) packet would be very competitive if not at the top of the heap anyway," he said. "I wasn't that surprised. He's that good."
Parkening said he attributes his work ethic to the training and mentorship he's received over his 18-year career, namely his experiences while assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C.
"They (the special operators) assisted me in learning their way of conducting sustainment and logistics operations," he said. "Not that it was any different than what's done by the conventional forces, but they manage things differently. That was an attribute - learning how to do and go out and applying what I learned."
Parkening will be officially recognized Sept. 14 at the National Defense Transportation Agency's Global Logistics Conference scheduled to take place in Phoenix.