By Sgt. Shiloh CapersSeptember 3, 2017
POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland - The Honorable Ryan McCarthy, Acting Secretary of the Army, visits Soldiers at Powidz Air Base Base, Poland, Sep. 1.
Sen. Jerry Moran, state representative of Kansas, and Maj. Gen. Timothy McGuire, Deputy Commanding General, US Army Europe, visited along with McCarthy.
The purpose of his visit was to support units abroad and to talk with Soldiers to get a better understanding of the region.
The notable guests arrived at 10th Combat Aviation Brigade's maintenance hangar at 33rd Air Base, near Powidz, for a briefing from Col. Clair Gill, commander of 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, who spoke on the unit's mission and presence in Poland. Gill also covered coordination with units in Allied countries and actions to comply with European standards.
The 10th CAB, as well as the supporting companies and reserve units are currently in Europe to support Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. endeavor to fulfill NATO commitments by rotating units through the European theater.
The unit took the opportunity to introduce the visitors to several Soldiers from 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade. The unit currently supports the 10th CAB in its nine-month long rotation in the European theater, fulfilling NATO obligations. The intent was to recognize the roles the Soldiers played in 10th CAB's missions and success.
McCarthy spoke to the Soldiers about the importance of preserving the 'long standing body of the NATO Alliance.' He also commented on national objectives and expressed appreciation for the service of the Soldiers before departing the hangar.
Moving onward to the dining facility, McCarthy and Moran awarded coins to Spc. Kevin Sanford, motor transportation specialist, 2nd platoon, 32nd Composite Trucking Company, 497th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 55th Sustainment Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve and Spc. Donnell Wilson, water purification specialist, water platoon, 227th Composite Supply Company, 498th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade.
The coins awarded to the two Soldiers were the result of hard work shown through Saber Guardian, a U.S. European Command Joint Exercise Program conducted in July. The multinational exercise was the largest in the Black Sea Region.
Sanford received the coin for acting as team leader, purifying over 50,000 gallons of water, and driving repeatedly between Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base and Cincu Training Area, racking up a sum of 2500 miles of road experience in Romania.
"It feels good, it shows that hard work will always come through and prevail," Sanford commented. "Every day, you have to find your motivation and get the job done, and it just happened to pay off."
Recognition by leadership boosts morale and makes an impact, he said. It proves effort is noticed and is a spark to motivate others.
Inside the dining facility, McCarthy and Moran ate at separate tables with four Soldiers and National Guardsmen. Throughout the course of the meal, conversation flowed between the distinguished visitors and the servicemen. Conversation around the table ranged from hometowns and education to the Soldiers' training and daily life. The Soldiers and Guardsmen inquired about concerns regarding the shift from temporary duty station to field duty status and a request for more availability of vegetarian-friendly meals.
While the units took the opportunity to let junior enlisted Soldiers shine, it does serve a purpose, suggested Lt. Col. Coleman Johnson, battalion commander of the 497th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 55th Sustainment Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve.
"It's important to recognize Soldiers, so they'll feel some ownership of the mission and some ownership of being part of the Army," Johnson said.
The purpose of the visit for McCarthy and Moran was to display how funds provided to the military are used and the types of missions the funds support, he said. For the Soldiers, these visits help form a better understanding of how the Army operates; there is a much bigger system the Army answers to that looks to make strategic decisions as the military makes tactical decisions.