By Mrs. Donna Klapakis (SDDC)October 9, 2019
NAHA MILITARY PORT, Okinawa -- 599th Transportation Brigade personnel conducted an inspection on one of their subordinate headquarters, the 835th Transportation Battalion, from Sept. 22-28 here.
Called the Organizational Inspection Program, the brigade puts together an inspection team about three months after each of its battalions change command to give the new commander a look at the state of his unit's readiness at the beginning of his tenure.
"The 835th has a new command team to include their executive officer and sergeant major, and this inspection provides a snapshot of key programs from a different perspective," said Casey Carr, 599th deputy to the commander and inspection team lead. "With that said, we are here to build relationships with our battalion partners. Since we are separated by the Pacific Ocean and 10 time zones, it is challenging to build rapport with our battalions. Our team focuses on ensuring the unit is meeting the regulatory requirements, but just as important is working the interaction and producing a common understanding of mission sets at both levels of command."
"Having the OIP when I have only been in command for three months will help us focus on the right things," said Lt. Col. Kelvin Simmons, 835th commander. "The inspection can help us prevent going in the wrong direction and developing bad habits.
"I like for people to be able to point to a policy, regulation or field manual to tell you why they are doing something a certain way," Simmons added. "Sometimes people say they are doing something a certain way because they have always done it that way. Then, when you do the research, you find it's wrong."
599th Ocean Cargo Clearance Authority chief, Greg Regpala, said there were no surprises in his inspection of the 835th's cargo documentation section (CDS).
"I've never had any issues with the CDSs in any of the battalions," he said. "Everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. We're always communicating, so if any issues come up, we'd know in advance prior to inspection."
835th administrative specialist Narie Kamino was inspected on records management.
"I was graded on my use of the Army Records Management System," she said. "My inspector checked all of my files and went through my ARMS binder to check if I have a list of records summaries."
"I really appreciate what she did," Kamino added. "I feel more comfortable doing the job now. Before, I wasn't really sure that I was doing it correctly."
599th information management supervisor, Arnel Bautista, inspected the 835th IM section.
"The inspection went very well," Bautista said. "It was more of a coach-and-mentor type of inspection, because we had a lot they needed to know.
"The section needs another local national to be able to maintain the help desk when the Department of the Army civilians deploy within the region to support units around the Indo-Pacific," he added. "That way they'll be more able to keep the local unit running but also support the deployment team on their operations throughout the Pacific."
In all the brigade team inspected 78 areas in 12 sections of the battalion. All areas but three were graded "satisfactory," which is the highest possible grade within the rating system. The other three areas were rated at the intermediate level of "needs improvement."
"Team Champion lived up to their name," said Carr. "They did an outstanding job. There were a couple of areas that require minor work, but overall, the 835th set the bar high. We learned as much from the battalion as they did from us."
"I like to focus beyond just satisfactory and unsatisfactory," said Simmons. "I always tell the team to continue to strive for improvement. I try to have them ask how they can make it even better even though they met the standard."