KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Usually it’s not so easy to pinpoint one employee who exhibits all the top-quality attributes to serve as a textbook ambassador for her organization, but for the 405th Army Field Support Brigade that employee is easy to spot.
That employee is Sgt. 1st Class Samara Burnett.
Recently selected as the U.S. Army Sustainment Command’s Employee of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021, the 405th AFSB operations directorate noncommissioned officer in charge is the epitome of service before self, positivity and leadership excellence.
“Sergeant First Class Burnett’s unique ability to foster teamwork and positive work environments throughout the brigade directly contributed to the planning, coordination and successful execution of DEFENDER-Europe 21,” said Larry Torres, the 405th AFSB’s director of operations. “She also led the planning, coordination and execution of the 405th AFSB commander’s forum, and spearheaded the execution of the brigade’s Project Inclusion program.”
“Her dedication and sincere belief that all personnel should be treated with dignity and respect directly contributed to ensuring the brigade commander’s intent was followed and understood by a 6,000 personnel strong workforce consisting of service members, Army civilians, contractors, and local national employees from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Italy,” Torres said.
An aviation operations noncommissioned officer by trade, Burnett said she didn’t know what a 405th AFSB was before being assigned to the brigade.
“I do not have a logistics background, but working here in operations – we have a bunch of great people – and I’ve learned a lot,” said Burnett, who has been at the 405th AFSB since February 2020.
Before the 405th AFSB, Burnett served as a drill sergeant at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and as the executive assistant to the U.S. Army Pacific Command chief of staff in Hawaii.
“It feels great to wake up and be a part of something important, doing something worthwhile,” said Burnett, who is married to her husband, Shane Burnett, and has a 7-year-old son named Dmytro. “Serving in the Army is not all rainbows and butterflies, but there’s definitely more positives than not.”
Her deployment to Iraq for 10 months between 2010 and 2011 was a good example of this, she said.
When her unit arrived at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Imam Ali Air Base in Iraq, “there was nothing,” said Burnett, who was in charge of maintaining flight records, battle tracking and producing battlefield site picture reports for Black Hawk and Apache helicopter flight crews with the 1st Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment.
“When we got there on the ground, we didn’t have a work space,” Burnett said. “We had to establish and build everything from scratch. We created our own office spaces and operations center. Everything we needed – even our chairs – we built ourselves.”
Burnett is well known for starting with nearly nothing, turning it around and making things happen. When the 405th AFSB was tasked to support the no notice Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome mission, Burnett – who has served in the Army for 16 years – jumped into action.
“She immediately met the challenge head on and guided the establishment of crisis planning sessions, current operating picture reporting to Army Sustainment Command and Army Materiel Command, commander’s critical information requirements reporting, and daily battle rhythm situational updates,” Torres said.
“Through her demonstrated commitment to the mission and support to our personnel, the brigade was able to deliver logistics support to more than 34,000 Afghan evacuees,” said Larry Torres, the 405th AFSB’s director of operations.
The Brigade’s logistics support for the Afghan evacuee mission consisted of the establishment of Life Support Areas with 3,200 beds, 555 showers, 320 latrines and many other critical services. The Brigade also delivered more than 2,500 meals daily and provided round-the-clock bus transportation.
“Ultimately, Sergeant First Class Burnett’s contributions enabled the successful accomplishment of all mission objectives and helped demonstrate America’s commitment to these Afghan citizens who helped the United States during conflict,” said Torres.
It feels great to be nominated however it’s not a solo victory, Burnett said.
“I could sit here and gloat and be proud of myself, but it’s a team effort,” said Burnett. “I wouldn’t be successful if I didn’t have such a great team here in operations, as well as my leadership.”
“I will gladly take the victory but it’s definitely not one I have earned individually,” she said.
Burnett will automatically be eligible for U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Employee of the Quarter, as well, expected to be announced soon.