SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii — In the world of field artillery, safety is paramount to the success of a lethal battery. Integral to this safety on the M777 howitzer cannons is the electronic thermal warning device, or ETWD. This device is designed to measure and indicate the cannon’s temperature to the M777 gun crew. Used during check fire operations, the ETWD provides the crew with a color indication of the gun tubes’ temperature, corresponding to the appropriate standard operating procedures.
Earlier this year, when it was recognized that the ETWD on multiple M777 howitzers within 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment at Schofield Barracks were broken and rendered inoperable, the replacements were immediately put on order. Given the logistical challenges of ordering parts to Hawaii, coupled with production shortages within the industry, an alternate solution was urgently needed to return the guns to their ‘mission ready’ status.
Enter Chief Warrant Officer Three Christopher Bergevine, a brigade armament technician from the 325th Brigade Support Battalion. In his role as an armament technician, Bergevine is no stranger to innovating and improvising when it comes to repairing and maintaining the Army’s various weapons systems.
Before he knew it, Bergevine was disassembling an ETWD and taking measurements of the screen which would need to be replaced. He digitized these measurements into a digitized modeling program, creating blueprints which were then turned into three dimensional computer-aided design files.
The files were compiled and sent off to a fabrication company for manufacturing and in two short weeks a package containing six ETWD replacement screens were sent to the unit.
Bergevine’s forward thinking and resourcefulness brought 3-7 Field Artillery’s fleet of M777 Howitzer’s back to full mission readiness, while saving the Army close to $40,000. Since ordering a replacement screen alone is not an option in the Army Supply System, the purchase of an entire ETWD was roughly $14,000 each. Bergevine was able to have all six screens fabricated at the price of $428.17.
Bergevine’s innovative thinking personifies the very essence of what makes the Warrant Officer Corps what it is. Technical expertise and dynamic leadership and is what sets warrant officers apart from the rest. Reaching both mission success and budgetary achievement, Bergevine’s actions set a precedent and a strong example for Soldiers and leaders alike.