CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — While deployed here as part of Task Force Slugger, Soldiers assigned to the 1063rd Support Maintenance Company out of Billings, Montana, constructed a noncommissioned officer arch to be used during future NCO induction ceremonies.
The 1063rd SMC supports operations for the 389th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 36th Sustainment Brigade, by providing auto repair, welding, materials fabrication, and weapons repair capabilities.
Command Sgt. Maj. John P. Hembree, senior enlisted advisor, 389th CSSB, enlisted Sgt. 1st Class Reuben Tovas to construct the arch.
Tovas serves as the platoon sergeant for the auto allied trades and armament section for the 1063rd SMC. A Florence Montana, native, he works as a locomotive engineer for Montana Railing Company.
Tovas said Hembree approached him and asked if he and his team could build the arch, and the platoon sergeant said he responded without hesitation, saying, “Command Sergeant Major Hembree, we can build whatever you want.”
To complete the job, Tovas assembled a team of metal fabricators and welders from the company, including Warrant Officer 1 James Reaves, Staff Sgt. Trevor Dunham, Sgt. Robert Simmons, Sgt. Travis Mahn, Cpl. Aumri Brinson, Spc. Annette Grover, Spc. Aron Hansen, Spc. Sean Loomis, Spc. Tyler Gorecki, and Pfc. Elijah Gregor.
Tovas said the inspiration for the design was home-grown.
“Montana is known for its wheat fields,” Tovas said. “I got the inspiration for the design from the wheat silos in those fields.”
The arch took six weeks to construct, and was fabricated using aluminum, brass, steel, and corrugated metal.
Tovas said the ranks were cut out and filed down by hand, and that the build inspired other Soldiers on the team to contribute their ideas into the design and construction of the arch.
The platoon sergeant said they originally wanted a design similar to roman pillars, but the corrugated steel was too thick and it was hard to achieve the pillar effect without breaking the seams. So, they decided to make a half-rounded shape with a flat back.
Tovas said they wanted the front facing side to be professional so that Soldiers can hold their promotion ceremonies there and pose for photos. The other side of the arch, he said, features an inlaid spine, which represents the whole of the NCO core, known as the “Backbone of the Army.”
“I wanted to use and showcase Task Force Slugger's talent and capabilities,” said Hembree. “Once I learned about the allied trades team that Task Force Slugger had, what better way to showcase this capability.
“I am extremely proud of the job our Soldiers did,” the command sergeant major concluded.