By Lisa SimunaciAugust 23, 2019
CORPUS CHRISTI ARMY DEPOT, Texas - Sustaining the fight took a personal tone when three leaders from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade reached out to Corpus Christi Army Depot employees at an Artisan Breakfast.
The Army Aviation Association of America sponsored the Aug. 21 event that brings warfighters face-to-face with the depot workforce.
The Soldiers recounted their experience with a battle-damaged medevac helicopter in Afghanistan. While it was loaded with wounded, the Black Hawk came under fire. Bullets pierced its engine.
The aircraft -- equipped with parts crafted at Corpus Christi Army Depot - went on to complete its mission.
"A helicopter with 22 battle wounds - to see it still flying," 1st Sgt. Jorge Cobo said, shaking his head with disbelief.
"Your years and years of expertise combined with your craftsmanship is an art I don't fully understand," Cobo said. "You are the heroes behind the curtain. My thanks to you."
Keeping warfighters at the forefront is paramount, said Corpus Christi Army Depot Commander Col. Gail Atkins.
"Never forget or misunderstand the importance of quality parts," Atkins told about 40 members of the workforce who attended the event. "Safety, quality and accuracy are so critically important. We have to understand that."
Jimmy Dosher is one of the depot's quality control inspectors and a veteran. He said he was moved by the Soldiers' words.
"I felt that heartfelt thank you," Dosher said. "It was really emotional. Their troops got to come home."
Col. Matthew Weinshel, commander of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, shared his experience managing aircraft phases, maintenance and moving sustainment efforts across Afghanistan. He also discussed the challenges of the dispersed locations, some of them in austere conditions.
Weinshel explained how sustainers calculate the order time for parts, but noted days can seem like a lifetime during a deployment.
"When those parts arrive, they have to be ready to go," he said. "When I see that CCAD stamp, I have full faith and confidence that they are."
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Marcus Vanney discussed his multiple deployments.
"None of them would be successful without your contribution," Vanney told the depot artisans.
Among his highest praise was for the depot field teams who travel to the aircraft's location to conduct repairs on site, rather than moving the aircraft to Corpus Christi.
"Everything you do matters," Vanney said. "From the parts you overhaul to the aircraft you repair."
While expressing their gratitude to the workforce, Weinshel emphasized their long-lasting impact.
"I know sometimes it is difficult to see, but what you do directly impacts lives. It is making a difference."