A pitch from a recruiter convinced Charles Washburn to join the Army before he graduated high school.
“My father had been in the Army during the 1950s and gave his encouragement to my decision,” said Washburn, who now supports U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command as a supply management specialist at Fort Drum Logistics Readiness Center-Aviation in New York.
For those who had no idea AMCOM had personnel outside Alabama, Texas and Pennsylvania, welcome to the club. These lesser-known positions are scattered around the Army, including a few locations outside the country.
Enlisting as an interior electrician, the Carthage, New York, native set off to Fort Hood, Texas, after completing training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. While on active duty, Washburn was also assigned to Baumholder, Germany; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and Camp Nimble, South Korea.
The highlight of that time? “I enjoyed Air Assault School at Fort Campbell,” Washburn said. “I enjoyed the challenge and the thrill of rappelling from an aircraft.”
Though there were good times, Washburn decided to take off the uniform after eight years and head back to New York.
With eight siblings living close to home and having custody of three young children – two of whom later served in the Army and Air Force, the time was right. “Being close to family was a logical choice,” he said. He always thought he’d probably end up back in or near his hometown. “Maybe it just came early.”
Once he left the Army, Washburn worked as a military housing maintenance technician and then a plumbing and heating tech.
“After a number of years, I applied for and accepted a position as a logistics management specialist with the [U.S. Army Garrison} Fort Drum, Directorate of Logistics,” he said.
Though there’s no connection between what Washburn did on active duty and any of the positions he’s held since, the discipline instilled in him during his time in the Army has been an asset for the more than two decades he’s supported the government as a contractor and government civilian.
“My role is contract oversight for the government AMCOM team at LRC-A Drum,” Washburn said. “Specifically, I’m responsible for ensuring the contractors’ supply operation is operating in accordance with their contract to perform maintenance on Army [helicopter] airframes in support of reset operations and the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade [10th Mountain Division] stationed at Fort Drum.”
While all his responsibilities are too numerous to name, Washburn’s other duties include property management, life cycle replacement planning of critical maintenance support equipment, oversight of the Government Purchase Card program, and implementing required supply procedures for contractor management of stocked aviation parts, components and quality audits.
LRC-A Chief Daniel Maust is Washburn’s supervisor and said his “actions directly influenced the continuing ability of the organization to provide support to units while also pursuing existing programs to update Standard Army Management Information Systems and equipment at no cost to [Drum LRC-A].”
According to Maust, Washburn tirelessly pushed the contract workforce to obtain required training, registration, onboarding and user activation prior to the conversion training – a process that was more challenging due to pandemic-related restrictions.
The fruit of Washburn’s labor was LRC-A Drum being the first LRC to receive the necessary STAMIS training using Microsoft Teams.
“He coordinated dry runs of connectivity to include contractor Microsoft Teams accounts, local network domain accounts and screen sharing with the remote trainers,” Maust said. “Working closely with the fielding team, he ensured the training was executed flawlessly. His efficiency enabled the training to complete a full day early.”
The above is but a snapshot of what Washburn brings to the table. Everything he does is part of taking care of Soldiers.
“Our team efforts provide the warfighter with a helicopter that has undergone deep maintenance, allowing the warfighter to focus their time on other maintenance [and] training activities,” Washburn said, adding that the most rewarding aspect is seeing positive results. “When a completed aircraft is delivered, I know my efforts contributed to a successful delivery.”
“He has a relentless desire to learn and master all systems and issues related to his job – and many that are not assigned, he assumes,” Maust said.
The respect between Washburn and Maust is mutual.
Washburn said the goals he sets for himself are what drive him. To reach those goals, his daily mantra is “What would Dan do?” – referring to Maust.
“His knowledge of military supply and aviation maintenance has given him a vast amount of insight in his role as contracting officer representative,” Washburn said of his supervisor. “As the site government team supervisor for Fort Drum, he leads by example and always either has answers or finds the answers – never letting a question or issue go unanswered.”
“Charlie brings as much as or more to the table than I do,” Maust said of Washburn. “I trust him impeccably in my absence.”
While he is a hard worker, Washburn also enjoys kayaking, road trips and vacationing in Europe with his wife during his downtime.
His career goal is to fill Maust’s position one day. “In my current position, I’m exposed to many of the responsibilities of that position, providing me with a valuable insight and learning experience.”
If present performance is an indicator, his goal could very well become a reality.