With every job in the Army, there are always standards set in place in order for the Soldiers to be ready at all times. For Echo Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, the standard they set is something the entire Army can emulate.
For the Barracudas, their hard work and dedication to readiness paid off as they were recognized as the winners of the 2019 Army Award for Maintenance Excellence – medium category (101-300 personnel).
The Chief of Staff (CSA), Army Award for Maintenance Excellence (AAME) Program is conducted each year to recognize Army units and/or activities that have demonstrated excellence in maintenance operations. Each unit is evaluated on their effectiveness ensuring that Soldier competency is maintained. Assessments of each unit in the categories of attitude and effective leadership are rated with a benchmark based on those of past winners, and the tenets of exceptional maintenance processes that were exhibited are validated and ranked.
“The base premise of the award is to ensure the unit is in compliance with CMDP, Command Maintenance Discipline Program, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric Baker, ground maintenance officer, Echo Company. “The (men and women) working in this program are one of the best groups I have ever worked with. If we aren’t all rowing in the saw direction, we aren’t going to make it.”
Former company commander to echo company, Captain John Walsh, was very proud of his company to achieve such award, but he says that award or not, the company, and any company in the military, should always meet these standards as it is to make sure when the Nation calls, the equipment is ready to go.
“Any good unit should be ready for an external evaluation and that is how we approached this,” said Walsh. “We wanted someone to give us an outside look at our Command Maintenance Discipline Program and we were happy with the results.”
The Soldiers who achieved this accomplishment are all 91 series mechanics in the Army and range from the rank of specialist to staff sergeant. “I think what made us special was because we accomplished this on junior levels,” said Walsh.
It is almost a year-long process for the AAME, usually starting at the beginning of the year, and going on until all units who submitted an AAME packet are evaluated. After all categories are judges, the Army Ordnance Chief will identify the Best of the Best, which the Barracudas also took home the title of.
The Soldiers who put their work into this AAME were all excited to win, said Walsh. He added that after they were told they won first place in the entire Army, they celebrated for a few minutes and then went right back to work.
“It’s great that the Army is recognizing the hard work the ‘Barracudas” had put in for this award and it’s a huge accomplishment for the company, said Walsh.
Although Walsh is no longer the commander of Echo company, he is very proud to be a part of such an accomplishment and hopes to take that to his next unit, he said.