By Ms. Kari Hawkins ( Redstone)August 6, 2013
A Reserve unit on Redstone Arsenal is looking for a few good Soldiers. The Army Materiel Command-Army Reserve Element Sustainment Brigade, which provides essential support services to a host of Army Materiel Command programs at Redstone and at other Army Materiel Command installations throughout the U.S., is growing its local footprint with a new headquarters detachment and additions to its Reserve Soldier work force.
"This is a growing brigade with a dynamic mission," said its commander Col. Jody Creekmore. "We are in the process right now of standing up our headquarters detachment and we're anticipating another detachment joining us soon with an additional 71 Soldiers."
Currently, the AMC-ARE Sustainment Brigade includes 196 Reserve Soldiers, supporting AMC units as far west as the Army Field Support Battalion at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; as far east as Letterkenny Army Depot, Pa., and Research Development and Engineering Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; as far north as the Tank and Automotive Command at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich.; and as far south as the Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas. The majority of those Reserve Soldiers -- roughly 105 -- support AMC at Redstone Arsenal.
"We are a unique brigade in that many of our reservists work in the civilian world right here at Redstone and then when they are on Reserve duty they are able to integrate right into their customer unit here in support of AMC," Creekmore said.
"Our reservists are fully integrated into their supported partner organizations. Everybody is considered part of the team. This is a one-of-a-kind brigade in the Army Reserve. There's no other brigade like this."
The brigade's mission is to provide an "enduring, available, trained and deployable Reserve force that is integrated into the Army Materiel Command structure for the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of the AMC mission."
The part of the brigade supporting AMC at Redstone Arsenal is known as Team South, and involves not only providing support to AMC but also to such subordinate commands and reporting agencies as the Security Assistance Command and Logistics Support Activity.
The brigade's Team North provides support to the Tank and Automotive Command, and Research Development and Engineering Command along with the Joint Munition Command at Rock Island, Ill. The brigade's Team Central provides support to the Communications-Electronics Command and Chemical Materials Agency at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
The brigade stood up four years ago and Creekmore, who previously commanded a Reserve brigade in Houston, Texas, took over as its second commander last month.
"I knew this was the right fit for me," he said. "I was already working as a civilian here at Redstone, so this brigade was where I needed to be. I want to keep the brigade moving in the right direction with excellent support to the Army Materiel Command.
"The best part of this assignment is that my Soldiers are value added. They are not just coming to a drill hall for training on weekends. They come in to work and do a real mission in support of AMC. We are full partners in the mission."
The brigade's new headquarters detachment will soon be located in dedicated office space at the Reserve Center on Patton Road. Currently, the brigade uses shared office space at the center. Its headquarters staff, led by Reserve Sgt. Maj. Randall Southerland, will soon grow to three permanent civilian employees who support the brigade.
"We have a lot of our detachments here so it makes sense to have our headquarters here," Creekmore said. "But these other detachments are just as important, and I have to ensure our Soldiers are taken care of and our customers get the support they need, no matter where they are in the AMC footprint."
While most Reserve units spend a weekend a month and 14 days in the summer fulfilling training and other readiness obligations, the Redstone brigade uses up to 29 days to support actual missions for AMC. Often, weekend duty hours are worked during the week in support of the brigade's customers. Many of its Reserve Soldiers are also Army civilians or support contractors already employed by AMC or one of its support organizations, which makes it easier for them to obtain a leave of absence from their civilian job as needed to transition into their Army Reserve job.
Even its commander manages double duty at Redstone, wearing his civilian uniform when he is working as the lead engineer for operational devices for the UH-60M (Black Hawk Modernized) Training Aides, Devices, Simulators and Simulations Office. When he puts on his Reserve uniform, Creekmore is meeting with the brigade's customers, discussing support issues with his Reserve Soldiers and leading efforts to provide the best Reserve support possible to AMC.
"I try to be the face of the brigade," Creekmore said. "I make sure my Soldiers are supporting all the different aspects of AMC as required by our mission. I am in the first 70 days of my command, and I've started my battlefield circulation. I will visit all the detachments and meet the commanders of all the units. I have met with the leadership at AMC and will continue to reach out to the leadership of the units we support to ensure we are meeting their needs."
Although many of the Reserve Soldiers in the brigade provide support for engineering, logistics and acquisition programs, the brigade can also provide many unique opportunities for Reserve Soldiers of other branches and military occupational specialties.
"We respond to the AMC commander's input into our force structure," Creekmore said. "The structure for each detachment is based on the unique requirement of the organization that detachment supports. We fill positions based on the particular skill sets and ranks required by that part of AMC.
"We are not a cookie cutter brigade by any means. We are a mixture dependent on what the mission is for the organization we support."
Even his Reserve Soldiers are not expected to be "cookie cutter" in terms of their duties.
"I expect them to always be a Soldier first. But then I expect them to integrate themselves into their customer unit and be value added. I want them to actually contribute to the mission," Creekmore said.
Every year, Creekmore is charged with reviewing Reserve support needs with AMC leadership.
"No mission stays the same. Even now, AMC is changing because it is leaving the war fight. Whereas before it was building up the war fight, now it is taking the war fight down," he said. "So the needs for an engineer may change to the needs for a logistician expert. We relook at AMC's needs each year and, if necessary, adjust to changes made by AMC."
And Creekmore said his brigade is always in search of Reserve Soldiers who can grow its mission strength.
"Soldiers who have just left active duty and who want to keep serving their country in uniform and have civilian jobs as well can be part of this brigade," he said. "We are looking for all ranks, all military occupational specialties. As the war fight draws down, we are expecting a lot of active duty Soldiers to leave active duty with the hope of continuing to serve. We can give them the flexibility they want and also keep their skill set in support of the Army."
Creekmore, a West Point graduate with 32 years of active and Reserve duty, sees the brigade and its mission as a win-win for both Reserve Soldiers and AMC.
"I think this is an awesome mission. I've never done anything like this before in the Army," he said. "This is a very interesting and vital brigade that executes a very important mission. It's a national brigade. We can be wherever AMC needs us to be."
Creekmore's leadership team includes Col. Mark Davis at AMC, Col. Mike Kosalko at AMCOM (currently on training with Col. Dan Arzonico serving in his position temporarily), Lt. Col. Ken Tavares at USASAC and Lt. Col. Nathele Anderson at LOGSA.
For more information on joining the Army Materiel Command-Army Reserve Element Sustainment Brigade, call 535-6203 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.