"Sustaining Excellence" is not just the motto of the Echo Company "Barracudas" of the 3rd Brigade, 25th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, but a personified ethos that is fulfilled by every Soldier within the unit.
The Barracudas pride and commitment outperformed units across the Pacific region and resulted in being awarded the U.S. Army Award for Maintenance Excellence (AAME) for the U.S. Army Pacific command on Jan. 19 at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.
"Maintenance is important because it is readiness. If we fail to maintain the equipment that we are in charge of, then we are setting up others for failure. Some jobs depend solely on the equipment here, and if things are left dirty or damaged, we can't be comfortable sending anyone anywhere with it," said Capt. John Walsh, Echo Company Commander.
The AAME is for maintenance excellence and is awarded to the unit with the best Command Maintenance Discipline Program (CMDP) in the entire Command. The CMDP is a tool to evaluate unit maintenance programs on a day-to-day basis and measures the Soldiers' and units' abilities to conduct maintenance on their equipment in any environment.
For their efforts, the Soldiers in-charge of their inspection area during the evaluation were awarded the Army Achievement Medal by Lt. Col. Kacie Lee, commander, 3-25th GSAB.
The Soldiers range from the ranks of specialist to sergeant and work in the 91 Military Occupational Specialty series, which includes jobs in the Mechanical Maintenance Field.
"I don't believe we're doing anything special," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eric Banker, battalion maintenance technician. "We are simply just meeting the Army standards and doing our job. Nothing would be done differently if there wasn't a plaque or recognition; we do it because that is the standard."
As the Soldiers go about doing their daily jobs, they still make time to maintain their section and make sure everything is in order and done to the standard.
Although there are selected Soldiers in charge of keeping their sections maintained, every Soldier in Echo Company has a part they play in making it easier. The Soldiers make sure all of their equipment is turned in clean. They also make sure to report it as soon as possible if anything is broken or missing so that it is fixed and taken care of quickly.
"It takes everybody, they can't do it on their own," said Banker.
Plaque or not, Walsh and Banker both believe that their Soldiers are doing what the Army expects of them. They will all continue to take pride in their equipment and always have it ready for whatever comes their way. They will also make sure incoming Soldiers are trained properly when it comes to meeting these standards, so news Soldiers can carry on the legacy of maintenance.
The Barracudas are selected as semi-finalists for the Army-level AAME and are scheduled to compete Feb. 18 with an additional inspection. The final winners will fly to the Pentagon to be recognized there for their hard work and excellence, and the company will receive a plaque they can display proudly.
List of Awardees
CPL Christopher Balsom
SGT Jacob Beck
SPC Domily Gilsuriel
SSG Jaime Lavariega
SGT Jeremy Castaneda
SPC Robert Lee
SGT Shakira Martin
SPC Rogene Roper
SGT Lucas Baigorria
SGT Antoine Johnson
SPC Christos Mishoe
SGT Anthony Contreras
1LT Joshua LaCroix
SSG Tavis Holliman-Proctor