'Best of Best' named at Army logistics awards
June 6, 2012
By J.D. Leipold
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 6, 2012) -- Representatives from 54 Army commands, among 21 states, two territories and three countries, were honored here last night as recipients of the 8th Annual Combined Logistics Excellence Awards. The awards are given for excellence in maintenance, deployment and supply.
The Combined Logistics Excellence Awards, or CLEAs, are presented to units in the active-duty Army, the National Guard and the Army Reserve. All have contributed significantly to Army readiness. Sponsored by the Army chief of staff, the honorees received the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence, the Deployment Excellence Award and the Supply Excellence Award.
This year's event had a spin to it, marking the first time three of the CLEA winners would also win the "Best of the Best Award." Presentation of that award was given some flair and mystery, as a Soldier in sunglasses and with a briefcase chained to his wrist came forward to the podium. There, another Soldier unlocked the case and presented the name of the winners to Kathleen S. Miller, G-4 deputy.
Amongst the hooting and shouts of supporters in the audience, the "Best of the Best" awards were presented to the top organizations from each of the three award programs in maintenance, deployment and supply. Those recipients had the highest overall evaluation scores within their categories. "Best of the Best" went to three active-duty commands.
United Nations Security Battalion, Camp Bonifas, Korea, took Best of the Best in maintenance and also won the CLEA Army Award for Maintenance Excellence in the "Field Level TDA/Small" category.
The 159th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Fort Campbell, Ky., won the Best of the Best in deployment, as well as the CLEA Deployment Excellence Award in the "Large Active-Duty" category.
Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, N.C., received Best of the Best in supply, while also winning the "Property Book Level (TDA) Active-Duty" category.
Following dinner and a musical interlude by the Army's "Down Range Band," Army G-4 Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, who opened the ceremony, said the CLEAs were about young Soldiers, leaders and noncommissioned officers working at a goal, working hard inside their units and setting very high standards.
"Really, it's about making the entire Army better," he said. "When you focus on supply, maintenance, and deployment, that's really the guts of what makes an Army move."
The Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, also spoke at the ceremony, and elevated the position of the logistician with his words.
"We hear the phrase tooth to tail, considering the warfighter being the tooth and the members of the logistics community being the tail," said Austin. "I would argue that you are even more critical to the fight than the term tail would imply. So to adapt a great quote that I read recently, if our infantrymen and our tanks and aviation -- if those assets are the teeth of our military might -- then the logistics is the muscle, the tendons, the sinew that makes the teeth bite down and hold on, and so logistics is the jawbone ... and I like that."