ANSBACH, Germany – The U.S. Army Materiel Command logistics assistance representatives assigned to the 405th Army Field Support Brigade in Europe have been extremely busy over the past 15 months supporting U.S. and NATO operations in direct assistance to Ukraine.
With all that work it’s nice to be recognized, and Will Owens knows this better than anyone. The 405th AFSB LAR who primarily supports the Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 program and the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment was recently selected as the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command 2022 LAR of the Year.
“I just found out last week,” Owens said. “It’s a huge honor; it’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me in my career.”
With over 40 years of experience working on missile systems, Owens’ primary mission is to advise the commanders and units he supports “whether that be wrench turning or training,” he said.
A top-tier expert in his field, Owens is qualified on the Hawk surface-to-air missile system, Avenger missile system, the man-portable Javelin, Sentinel radar system, Shadow, Puma, Raven and now the Mobile Short Range Air Defense, or M-SHORAD. The 5th Bn., 4th ADA, who Owens primarily supports, was the first battalion in the Army to test, receive and field the M-SHORAD system.
“I try to cater the support I provide more towards training so it’s not just a win for me. It’s more of a win for the Soldiers. Advice, teach and mentor – that’s my primary responsibility,” said the retired Army sergeant first class missile maintainer with 22 years of active-duty experience.
“Not taking anything away from the warrant officers or the noncommissioned officers – I was one – but my background brings another level of experience and expertise,” said Owens, who’s worked as an AMC LAR for 15 years, five in Ansbach. “I’m embedded into their air defense world, and I’m there every day as a force multiplier.”
But it works both ways, said the 61-year-old native of Gary, Indiana.
“What we as LARs get back from these young warrant officers and Soldiers is that new technology that they’re more exposed to … so it’s a little bit of a give and take,” said the father of four and grandfather of four more.
Owens, who holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Columbia College and an associate’s degree in general studies and missile maintenance from Calhoun Community College, said his number one motto is education and hard work pays off.
“I received many congratulations from my friends, my family and my peers. They know I’m a workaholic so I think they kind of expected this,” said Owens. “I want to thank my command and all the people who had faith in me. I will continue to support the warfighters. Nothing is going to change that. Because I got this badge bestowed upon me, now I must work even harder. I must continue to shine.”
LARs are Army civilians serving in motor pools, aircraft hangars, maintenance shops and offices around the world. Highly trained, they bring more than two dozen specialty skills to Army equipment readiness requirements. They are part of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command’s global network of Army Field Support Brigades and are linked to every echelon of the Army in the field. The 405th AFSB has several LARs with multiple specialties assigned across Europe.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to ASC and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging AMC’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website and the official Facebook site.