Ft. RILEY, Kansas – U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Paul Gomez, the chief enlisted career manager of the U.S. Army’s Ordnance Corps, proposed two questions to a group of Soldiers assigned to the 101st Brigade Support Battalion (BSB), 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, standing before him during a short visit to Fort Riley, Kansas, on Feb. 15, 2023.
First, he asked them if they were doing anything to improve themselves and then what were they doing to improve others.
“We’re trying to build the Army’s culture of maintenance,” said Gomez. “If we’re going to build this culture, it’s going to take developing our team.”
Military sustainment is categorized as the provision of logistics, personnel services, and health service support necessary to maintain warfighter operations. To keep the cogs turning, Soldiers serving in a sustainment capacity play an essential role in keeping vehicles and warfighting tools ready for action.
Gomez, alongside Master Sgt. David Henderson, the senior career manager of the Ordnance Corps, toured facilities and multiple shops attached to the 101st BSB, often referred to as “Liberty” battalion, to encourage junior members of the 1st Inf. Div.’s ordnance corps and to discuss the essential functions of a leader.
“Good leaders generate more leaders not followers,” said Gomez. “We as leaders have a responsibility to develop. One of the things that we need to do is develop ourselves in an effort to develop future leaders.”
As Gomez and Henderson toured vehicle maintenance bays, radio shops, and arms repair shops, Soldiers provided insight on ways to improve functional capabilities within the sustainment enterprise. Soldiers in sustainment are required to think outside of the box, Gomez noted, they must fabricate parts and solutions to keep critical assets of the 1st Inf. Div. in motion.
“I appreciate each and every one of you,” said Gomez. “Not everyone realizes how much you do.”
Soldiers in sustainment frequently accomplish their work behind the scenes in the repair shops and maintenance bays. These Soldiers often work with their hands. They wear coveralls soiled with grease after a long day spent fixing a line of tactical vehicles. They wear welding goggles to protect their eyes from the sparks flying in all directions as they use exothermic cutters to melt and remove damaged bolts and plasma tables to fabricate custom parts.
What seems like a chaotic maze of winches, rivets, hand cranks, chains, nuts, bolts and oil drums is actually a meticulously organized machine designed to support Soldiers training in the field.
“Keep learning and no one can tell you that you can’t go far,” said Henderson. “As long as you continuously love what you do, you will go far.”