VILSECK, Germany – When they were stationed in the Army together in Hawaii in the early ‘90s and met for the very first time, never would they have imagined they would move from duty station to duty station together, deploy multiple times together, and serve as Soldiers for Life together – their entire adult lives.
Phil Smalley was an Army specialist serving as a power, refrigeration and air conditioning technician. Loriann Smalley was an Army sergeant working as a tactical communications network operator and maintainer. They fell in love and were married, and almost 25 years later they’re still together – and still serving together.
Working for the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s Army Field Support Battalion-Germany as civilian Logistics Assistance Representatives, Loriann and Phil both said they love the Army and they love taking care of Soldiers.
And they’re doing just that.
In fact, with their combined years of service exceeding six decades – Loriann and Phil have made it their life-long mission to take care of Soldiers. Taking care of thousands of Soldiers over the years with no plans on stopping any time soon, they continue doing so with AFSBn-Germany.
“I was a sergeant in the Army, taking care of Soldiers, and I just kind of graduated into this job,” said Phil, a U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command LAR attached to AFSBn-Germany and stationed in Vilseck.
Phil served eight years as a Soldier before transitioning to Army civilian LAR. For the past 21 years, he’s been a power and environmental LAR – his primary job – training Soldiers.
“I train Soldiers on how to repair and maintain their equipment,” said Phil, a native of Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, who joined the Army in 1991. “The biggest thing for me is when I’m training Soldiers and they don’t understand something – but then I see the lightbulb come on in their heads.”
“That’s why I love my job. It makes it all worthwhile,” he said.
Loriann is a retired sergeant first class with 20.5 years of active duty service and another 13 years as an information technology switch LAR with CECOM. She said going from Soldier to Army civilian LAR made sense for her, too.
“It’s all for the Soldiers,” said Loriann, who is also attached to AFSBn-Germany in Vilseck. “I just want to make sure these Soldiers know their jobs so that when it comes down to it, they can do it. I always tell them they’re like my kids.”
“I like learning new things and being able to teach these things to Soldiers. Making sure the Soldiers understand and know what they are doing is very close to my heart,” said Loriann, who trains Soldiers on how to maintain and operate tactical communications networks.
But what makes Loriann and Phil unique is the fact they are a team. Married for 24 years with three children and four grandchildren, including a newborn, Loriann and Phil have made a life together as a happily married couple and as a mini Army LAR team.
“I can’t see the Army or Phil not being a part of my life,” said Loriann, who joined the Army in 1987 from New Mexico. “We get along perfectly. But if we need our individual space, we go our own ways for a time. And this job allows us to do that.”
And they both agree working at AFSBn-Germany is a great assignment. They will have three years at the battalion in June, and they recently extended for another two years. Loriann said of all the units she and Phil have been assigned to, AFSBn-Germany has provided them with the best support.
“We’ve been in other units where it wasn’t as great and we had to fight for everything, but here – when we’ve asked for things – they have done all that they could do to get us the stuff we needed,” Loriann said.
Logistics Assistance Representatives are Army civilians serving in motor pools, hangars, maintenance shops, and offices around the world. Highly trained, they bring more than two dozen specialty skills to Army equipment readiness requirements. They are part of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command’s global network of Army Field Support Brigades and are linked to every echelon of the Army in the field. The 405th AFSB has several LARs with multiple specialties assigned across Europe.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to ASC and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.