By Blair Benz, USAG GrafenwoehrJune 29, 2009
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - Three local units received top honors for deployment excellence at the 2009 Chief of Staff, Army Combined Logistics Excellence Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., last month.
The 412th Aviation Support Battalion out of Ansbach earned the Chief of Staff, Army Deployment Excellence Award for best active Army, large deploying unit while Vilseck's 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment RSS took the runner up spot. Grafenwoehr's 172nd Brigade Combat Team won first place in the all-Army operational deployment category for deployment excellence in support of operational missions.
Established in 2000 by the Chief of Staff, Army Deployment Excellence Award identifies Active, Reserve, and National Guard units who demonstrate innovative or outstanding practices during deployment.
DEA program manager, Aaron Burr, helped introduce the award program to U.S. Army Europe beginning in August 2008.
"This is the first year USAREUR units competed for this award," said Burr. "Ten units submitted packets for the competition and four were winners."
The award has significance at the unit level and beyond, Burr said.
"This award acknowledges innovation at a boots-on-the-ground level and through feedback, these units can push lessons learned up to the DA level," he said.
The DEA creates a mechanism for disseminating best practices throughout the Army that benefit the unit, the mission, and ultimately, the individual Soldier. Burr coordinated with DEA headquarters in Fort Eustis, Va., for an observer to fly in and evaluate the 172nd's deployment from Grafenwoehr, Germany, in November.
Observing and scoring every movement of the unit's installation staging activity, the observer assigned high marks for safety, mission completion ahead of schedule and no frustration of cargo at the port.
Reorganized into an Aviation Support Battalion and subsequently deployed to multiple locations in Iraq - all within a year - posed quite a challenge for the 412th Aviation Support Battalion.
The battalion met the challenge by implementing rigorous pre-deployment equipment inspections insuring 100 percent compliance with regard to equipment standards, documentation and successfully completing a demanding mulit-modal deployment.
Given a 90-day deployment notice, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment RSS performed multiple safety checks, vetted 278 pieces of equipment, prepared 430 personnel and coordinated with regimental leadership to maintain clear and achievable timelines.
Finalists were recognized by USAREUR Commander Gen. Carter F. Ham at the USAREUR/7A CLEA ceremony April 8 in Heidelberg, Germany.
Burr recounted one award recipient's prediction for the future, "Next year USAREUR is going to take all 10 of the awards," he said.
Two representatives from each winning unit were sent, all expenses paid, to attend the CLEA award ceremony in Washington, D.C. June 2.
The four-day visit included the ceremony and banquet hosted by Lt. Gen. Mitch Stevenson, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army for logistics, a city tour and a military tattoo presented at the Jefferson Memorial.
Eligibility requirements stipulate interested units must deploy or support a training or contingency deployment within the competition year and submit a packet for review to the DEA Board.
Burr attributes USAREUR's success this year to local support. "None of this would have been possible without the commanders and the support of the IMCOM folks," he said.
Deploying and redeploying units may self-nominate for the CSA DEA if their deployment or redeployment process was successful. Units interested in applying for the 2010 CSA DEA are encouraged to contact Burr through email at email@example.com, or by calling DSN 370-5407.