FORT CARSON, Colo. - Support echelons generally don’t receive much glory in the military. “In the rear with the gear,” is the saying when it comes to these jobs, but their roles can’t be overlooked, as without them little would get accomplished.
Every operational unit in the Army down to battalion level has a headquarters and headquarters unit in charge of ensuring its Soldiers are in a constant state of readiness at all times, from the records in their personnel files, to the gear and equipment they use. An assortment of military occupational specialties (MOSs) propagate the jobs within a headquarters unit.
For Sgt. Eric Wankovsky, an orderly room noncommissioned officer with 1st Space Brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, the road to his current position took him through the Army’s Patriot missile battery community before he landed in space. After being stationed in Germany and deployments to Kuwait and Qatar, he is now enjoying his time with 1st Space Brigade in Colorado Springs.
Q: Why did you join the military?
A: I wanted to get out of my parent’s house in Southern California. It was way too expensive there and I wanted to see the world as well. I was working retail at Best Buy and I needed something more out of life. It was time to move on. I was 27, had just got my associate’s degree, and was ready for a new challenge.
Q: How was it going through basic training a bit older than most of the recruits there?
A: At times some of the guys would get a little reckless and I would maintain my composure. The drill sergeants took notice of this. I just kept everything on the straight and narrow at Fort Sill (Oklahoma), where I went through both basic and AIT (advanced individual training) and graduated honor grad.
Q: Why air defense? What steered you in that direction for an Army job?
A: I was always into computers growing up. I like problem-solving and the technical aspects of them. I can navigate systems more easily with my background and adapting to new user interfaces comes more naturally for me than some. I really like seeing what computer systems capabilities are.
Q: What has been the best place you have been stationed thus far?
A: Baumholder, Germany. I was there for three years. It was awesome. I was a newly-wed and had my first kid there. I took three years of German in highschool and two in college, so I am somewhat fluent in the language. When we would go out to dinner on the economy there, I would order in German for everybody. We went to Poland, the Netherlands, worked with NATO and the German military for joint exercises and was out in the field training a lot.
Q: What is the best part about working for SMDC?
A: Working on the JTAGS (Joint Tactical Air Ground Station) system and just the knowledge you learn from working here. The advancements you see that the Army has in space - a lot of people don’t realize what we are capable of. This is the future. It’s eye-opening what we can do with the systems we have in place. I really want to learn everything that goes into space and attend the sensor manager leader’s course.
Q: What do you take away from almost a decade now in the military?
A: Management, discipline, multi-tasking, and working with people from all walks of life - Africa, New Guinea, all over the world. My time in the military has had its ups and downs, but it has mostly been positive. It’s consisted of a lot of training, and I try to excel at everything I do. I try to make myself known, but not too well known. The brigade relies on me a lot at HHC because I put myself out there to help out with all sorts of things. I am one of the few Soldiers here that is licensed on different military vehicles; I’m an ammo handler, and qualified to grade the ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test). I just try to help with whatever, whenever I can.