By Jon Connor (ASC (AMC))March 31, 2009
Private industry and some Army commands got a golden opportunity to show off what they do and how they do it during the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium and Exposition held at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 25-27.
The event, held inside and out of the Broward County Convention Center, allowed the Army Sustainment Command to explain its mission to attendees and what ASC's important role is in support of overseas contingency operations.
ASC's booth supported Army Materiel Command's overall theme of the future of the warfighter based on emerging technologies by employing a small-town-like exhibit - a village.
"You want to make it interface with the public," said Cathy Mitchell, exhibit manager for AMC. Coupled with, she said, "what we are doing for the Soldier."
Awaiting passers-by was ASC's subject-matter expert, Lt. Col. Horatio "Sprague" Taveau V, commander of the 1st Battalion, 407th Army Field Support Brigade (CONUS West), Fort Carson, Colo.
Despite being a 23-year Army veteran, this was Taveau's first AUSA symposium as a briefer or attendee.
"It's definitely very interesting," he said, looking around at all the exhibits of companies he's somewhat familiar with based on advertisements in military trade journals.
"If just a quarter of it gets to the battlefield it'll make a huge difference," he said. "There are logistics systems here that we could use now."
Assisting him tell the ASC story was PhotonOpticon technology in the form of a hologram with short presentations courtesy of Staff Sgt. "I. M. Ready," who was billed as the Army's most eager Soldier. Ready explained ASC's various missions, including Field Support, Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, Materiel Management, Army Force Generation/Logistics Synchronization, and Army Prepositioned Stocks.
Ready explained the aforementioned missions in bite-size, digestible orations lasting about 30 seconds each.
"Most of the people I talked with - those developing businesses - were interested in ASC and what we do," Taveau said.
Taveau certainly can "talk the talk" after "walking the walk" as a veteran of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, where he served as the Maintenance Support Team platoon leader with the 502nd Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Division.
He also commanded a company with 501st FSB, 1st Armored Division during operations in Bosnia as part of the Implementation Force (IFOR) and has been awarded the Southwest Asia Service Medal with three campaign stars.
Although exhibits were a large part of the event, the symposium included forums with many of the Army's top leaders and private industry experts, highlighting developments and changes for the Army of the 21st century involving electronics, engineering, and leadership.
For example, Lt. Gen. James H. Pillsbury, AMC's deputy commanding general, spoke on the "U.S. Army Materiel Command's Perspective" and also led a panel discussion on "Resetting the Force."
Pillsbury also received a quick briefing from Taveau as he made the rounds at AMC's exhibit area the first day of the symposium.
Taveau compared attending an AUSA symposium to a pilgrimage. "At least once in their career they should come here and see what's here," Taveau said of Soldiers attending an AUSA symposium. It's a great opportunity, he said, to get to know people - people who can get things done - and learn about others' ideas on weapons systems, for example, that can help a unit.
It's amazing, he said, the "sheer amount of knowledge folks can benefit from."
Just 25 feet away at another AMC booth was Bhavanjot Singh, a project officer with the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
Singh was presenting a vehicle known as the "Ripsaw MS1" - an unmanned robotic and lethal tracked vehicle. Singh said it can reach speeds of more than 60 mph and do it very quickly.
It resembles the lower half of a tank and can accommodate various weapon systems, such as the M240 machine gun. The beauty of this machinery, he said, is that it can maneuver about 1 to 2 miles away from a command area or modular station that can be put into other Army vehicles on the battlefield.
"They loved it," Singh said of attendees watching the demonstration video. "Some already knew about it, some didn't," he said. The Ripsaw is "as smart as the person operating it."