WASHINGTON, D.C.- Walking onto the floor at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, it was hard to miss the black, gold and white Army star. The Army logo is in fact, the most recognizable logo of all the military services and is one of the top 100 recognizable logos in the United States.
Soldiers and civilians assigned to the Army Mission Support Battalion (MSB), a subordinate unit to the Accessions Support Brigade (ASB), under the operational control of the Army Marketing and Research Group, demonstrated why during their unique support to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting here October 12-14.
"There is no other organization like this in the Army," said Sgt. 1st Class Arrick Jones, lead exhibitor in charge of the AUSA display.
The MSB is a specialized Army unit in charge of conducting professional mobile and fixed exhibits, providing multi-media and graphics support, and developing and producing marketing and incentive products to provide quality leads to the U.S. Army accessions effort and enhance public understanding of the Army.
As part of the MSB's role during the annual AUSA meeting, team members designed, transported, installed and operated a state-of-the-art 5,400 square foot display system consisting of eight workstations and two presentation areas. They also were responsible for setting up meeting rooms and office space for the Army's senior leadership.
"We started the planning for our mission in support of the AUSA, six months ago," Jones added. "We figured out what display systems we were going to use, electrical, carpeting, anything that goes into the design process of the booths," he added while explaining the unit's military decision making process in preparation for their missions.
The MSB display system at the AUSA annual meeting created the perfect venue for several major Army commands such as Army North, Army Materiel Command, Army Forces Command, Army Cyber Command and others to demonstrate the scope and scale, capabilities, and evolving nature of the nation's most versatile team.
The MSB team members are aware their mission goes beyond installing a display. They understand that thanks to their work, the Army is able to tell its story all across America, connecting the Army with the American people and increasing the likelihood that they will support, advocate for or consider joining.
"We are the tip of the spear," said Lt. Col Mario Washington, MSB commander. "We are out there strengthening the force by providing the narrative through face to face engagements, the interactive assets that showcase the capabilities of the Army and help the public understand what the Army has to offer."
The commander went on to explain how the MSB delivers the message of how the U.S. Army is not only able to conduct combat operations, but highly specialized missions that are not usually associated with military service.
"Through our unit, we tell the people that the Army is a vast scalable force that offers way more capabilities than what the American public generally thinks," he said. "For example, we have chemists, physicists and computer programmers, among others. A lot of times people think the Army is only an infantry-based force. We go out there and make sure everyone understands the real nature of the Army," added Washington.
By conducting their mission at critical national events such as the AUSA annual meeting and other high visibility venues around the country, the MSB enables the Army to have access to high quality potential recruits and their influencers, which in turn enables the institution to develop and maintain the special skill sets needed to face today's complex challenges.
"The Mission Support Battalion's seamless execution of high profile missions like AUSA is a testament to its important contributions to the Army," said Accessions Support Brigade Commander Col. Janet R. Holliday. "They are the workhorse battalion of the Accessions Support Brigade with assets spread across the United States almost every day of the year. Together with the U.S. Army Parachute Team and U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, the Mission Support Battalion allows thousands of people across the US to experience what it means to be a Soldier," added Holliday.
In an average year the Soldiers and civilians assigned to the MSB drive over five hundred thousand miles across the continental United States to support thousands of events, and participate in over 90 national conventions, connecting America to America's Army.