By TRACI BOUTWELL
Aviation and Missile Command Public Affairs

Fifteen workers from the Aviation and Missile Command climbed aboard a Chinook helicopter and peered into the cockpits of both Apache and Black Hawk helicopters during a demonstration at the Redstone Test Center's Aviation Flight Test Directorate, Aug. 3.

The item managers assigned to the AMCOM Logistics Center received the VIP tour as guests at the Program Executive Office for Aviation's introductory command event.

Item managers are responsible for 16,644 different types of aviation and missile repair parts. Their duties include releasing stock to the field upon request, monitoring and maintaining stock levels, and assisting in the decisions of when to purchase stock or if old stock should be repaired. Item managers also validate data to determine if they need to initiate contracts for new purchases and repairs.

"Item managers are a critical part of our aviation and missile supply chain and they execute their complex mission exceptionally well," Don Nitti, acting executive director for the AMCOM Logistics Center, said. "It's great to have the opportunity to give them a firsthand look at the systems they support on a daily basis."

The workers received a hands-on experience with the Chinook, Black Hawk, Apache and Lakota aircraft, unmanned aircraft systems along with other software programs PEO Aviation supports.

"With the exception of the static displays around post, I have never seen any of our helicopters up close," said Masheldia Green, item manager, T55 engine depot team, Cargo Sustainment team that orders parts for the CH-47 Chinook helicopter engine. "I thought this experience would allow me to see the Chinook up close and really gain an understanding of where the items I manage are located on the aircraft."

Green and the other attendees not only saw a Chinook up close, they spoke with the helicopter's crew chiefs who gave the item managers a better understanding of the amount of time and effort that goes into maintaining each helicopter. The crew chiefs shared their perspective on how the item managers provide support to the Soldiers in the field.

"I am new to the organization, and today's experience helped place the need for readiness into perspective for me and gave me a better idea of who (Soldiers) and what I support," said Destinee Croom, item manager who supports the Black Hawk helicopters.

The static helicopter display was the first in a series of events AMCOM is participating in or hosting for the AMCOM item managers.

AMCOM Chief of Staff Col. Shawn Prickett said that overall this event was a positive experience for the experts who make our supply chain work. "We will continue to provide these opportunities to connect our workforce with the output they provide to the Army," Prickett said.