By CourtesySeptember 28, 2018
By Lisa Hunter
AMCOM Public Affairs
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Class was in session at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) when more than 90 senior leaders from the Army's Air Defense community gathered, Sept. 20 and 21, to participate in the AMCOM 101 for Missiles.
AMCOM 101 is an opportunity for the missile sustainment and maintenance enterprise to collaborate with Air Defense units across the Army on best practices, services and products and to get feedback from the field, according to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Araceli Rial, AMCOM's Missile Maintenance Officer.
"AMCOM 101 is an opportunity for Air Defense brigade and battalion commanders, command sergeants major, senior warrant officers, and noncommissioned officers that enables collaboration and lays the ground work for command teams to optimize their readiness," Rial said. "Although AMCOM hosts the event, we are including Program Executive Office (PEO) Missiles and Space, Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC), and other organizations that support the Air Defense community."
During the two-day forum, the Air Defense leaders participated in discussions with the AMCOM Commander, Maj. Gen. Doug Gabram, who hosted the event; Commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Lt. Gen. James Dickinson; and the Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space, Brig. Gen. Robert Rasch, Jr. They also participated in discussions on missile readiness and sustainment, depot support, supply chain management, and technical publications.
The leaders who spoke at AMCOM 101 emphasized that their missions are to serve and support Air Defenders. In his opening comments, Gabram explained the intent of the forum.
"This isn't a command brief. We want this to be a discussion about readiness for the Missile Enterprise," Gabram said during his opening remarks. "One of the main topics we should address is the fact that we have some significant challenges with maintenance and sustainment, and those challenges impact readiness. The collaboration that happens at AMCOM 101 is critical to helping everyone improve readiness. At AMCOM, we know we want to build strategic depth in the supply chain and support the field through speed, accuracy, and quality. These discussions will help us get there."
Dickinson also shared how learning about AMCOM's missions and capabilities will help build mission success.
"When I look around, I see commanders, warrant officers and sergeants major. I want to thank all of you for your outstanding support and important contributions to the Army AMD Enterprise. You are here because you want to learn about AMCOM and how AMCOM supports your missions," Dickinson said. "Everything that we do comes down to the individual Soldier who provides that critical AMD capability on the battlefield, and the many Soldiers, Civilians, and Contractors who are dedicated to making it possible. Your professionalism, technical expertise, and dedication are truly an inspiration to me every day."
On the first day, the Air Defenders received briefings and discussed several strategic topics. They even took advantage of the lunch break to take part in professional development forums for commanders, warrant officers and sergeants major, respectively. On the second day, the AMCOM 101 participants visited the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, which enabled the participants to further expand their knowledge network by interacting with some of the career field's subject matter experts and learn about valuable readiness tools readily available for their use.
Lt. Col. Johannes Castro, the commander of the 94th Army Air & Missile Command's Task Force Talon, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), along with his command sergeant major and chief tactician warrant officer, flew from their home station in Guam to attend this year's 101.
"I'm a big fan of the AMCOM 101s. We're dealing with an austere environment and are surrounded by salt water, so I really appreciated that they included THAAD and corrosion issues," Castro said. "The dialogue is the real advantage to these 101s."
Command Sgt. Maj. Sheldon Chambliss, 174th ADA Brigade, Ohio National Guard, said this was his first AMCOM 101, and the event definitely met his expectations.
"I got what I expected and more. I really liked the discussion and networking with other major subordinate command leaders," he said. "I now have a better understanding of how AMCOM can support my organization. And, I have a better understanding of resources and the reset process."
Chambliss's background has been with Avenger missile systems. As such, he said he appreciated the discussion on how Letterkenny Army Depot overhauled 72 Avengers that are now being used as part of the European Deterrence Initiative. Furthermore, after learning about depot's capabilities in recapping and refitting air defense equipment, he's planning to visit Letterkenny and recommend other senior leaders from his command visit, as well.
AMCOM has hosted 101 for Missiles since 2014 and plans to continue hosting the events annually. The team will incorporate feedback from this year's forum to make next year's even better.
"We call this AMCOM 101 because this is a course for members of the missile enterprise to make sure everyone is on the same page. It's important for these leaders to know how AMCOM supports them so that they are ready for any mission for which they will be tasked," Gabram explained. "The AMCOM leadership is here to talk to Soldiers, listen to their concerns and help them fix their problems. We want them to know who were are and what support we can collectively provide."