By Kate LoftinOctober 1, 2019
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - Gabe Burkman works behind a vaulted door in the Sparkman Center, but his daily tasks impact Soldiers serving in the Middle East.
"I believe other employees in the Sparkman Center have no idea what we do behind that door, and I think they are curious," said Burkman, a logistics management specialist for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.
Burkman works in AMCOM's operations (G3) division. His specific unit, known as G-33, collects and distributes the current logistical status of all the combatant commands aviation and missile equipment.
Burkman, who has served in his current position since 2015, says his main duties involve organizing communications, but he also tracks retention trends for issues that could affect supply demands on Central Command installations. He also develops accountability measures for resources based on lessons learned.
"My main objective is to gather accurate and up-to-date operational data on aviation and missile readiness drivers located specifically in Central Command and make sure we are on top of their supply and sustainment needs," said Burkman.
A readiness driver is a critical repair part essential for equipment operation. Identifying and stocking readiness drivers are a means of prioritizing supply availability goals and - ultimately - the readiness of aviation and air defense units across the Army.
Central Command is comprised of 20 countries and approximately 23,500 U.S. military, civilian and contract personnel.
Each day, Burkman evaluates a steady stream of statistical and strategic information on materiel readiness for the units from multiple sources.
His most valuable resource is the senior command representative (SCR) and the logistics assistance representatives (LARs) at each installation.
"I can accomplish the mission of sustaining and maintaining installation supplies from my remote cubicle because the SCRs and LARs are my eyes on the ground," Burkman said.
When he gets this information, Burkman analyzes the data for any new trends, gauges the level of importance, prepares a briefing and then disseminates that data to the AMCOM leadership.
Last year, Burkman's investigation and analytical skills paid off when the team discovered a particular helicopter part prone to corrosion was impacting fleet readiness and aircraft reliability.
"There were a lot of organizations involved in fixing this issue and each organization had its own specific area of responsibility. That is where the Operations Center comes in," Burkman explained. "We tracked down all these bits of information and balanced them against each other."
Burkman and his team conducted an analysis that helped clear reporting discrepancies and redundancies to provide AMCOM and aviation commanders a clear and complete picture of the issue.
"This allowed our leadership to confidently track progress and stay a step of ahead of any supply issues," Burkman said. "In the end, the total effort resulted in a substantial increase in readiness and aircraft reliability. It was a total enterprise effort and we were proud to be a part of that."
Burkman also generates statistical reports for G-33 supervisors and provides situational reports for operational and intelligence meetings.
"This gleaning of communications between Central Command and AMCOM is vital to sustainment and readiness on a global scale," said Col. Terry Grisham, Military Deputy of G-33 Operations.
"Gabe is one of our power hitters. He is a sharp individual with initiative and a take-charge attitude. He wants to understand the full scope of the G-33 mission," said Grisham.
Burkman understands the totality of that responsibility, and as a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army, he is quick to emphasize that any achievements are a team effort from those working inside and outside the operations center.
"The teammates sitting next to me and the contacts we utilize in the field each contribute to the AMCOM mission. Our collaboration is what makes our team successful," said Burkman.
Burkman's supervisor agreed.
"Gabe is a reliable and proactive individual, but the scope of responsibilities for the G-33 mandates a team effort, and there are many power hitters on the Operations team," Grisham said.
The team in G-33 works for the Warfighter, but they stand ready behind that vault door to take on any and all needs of the command.
"We answer phone calls and emails from general officers to Joe Q. Citizen every day. We are like a traffic cops helping to keep AMCOM plugged in at every level," said Burkman.