Pitching in – TACOM's Brian Wozniak recognized

By Adam Sikes, TACOM Public Affairs OfficeJuly 3, 2023

TACOM's Brian Wozniak stands next to the Bradley static display in front of the Detroit Arsenal after receiving AMC's 2023 Louis Dellamonica award.
TACOM's Brian Wozniak stands next to the Bradley static display in front of the Detroit Arsenal after receiving AMC's 2023 Louis Dellamonica award. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. - It’s the mainstay of today’s headlines - Ukraine. Driving into work in the morning, you hear reports of the newest additions to Ukraine’s self-defense wishlist. In the headlines, you see videos of Ukrainian soldiers navigating the battlefields of their homeland in Bradleys. But the Bradleys don’t get there by their own – it takes an Army to get them there.

“For me, this isn’t just something I do to get a paycheck. It’s about wanting to be proud of what we’re investing our time and energy into,” says Brian Wozniak, materiel release coordinator within the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command’s Materiel Systems Organization. As TACOM’s newest recipient of the Army Materiel Command’s Louis Dellamonica award, Wozniak went from seeing tanks pass by his camping tent as a child to helping them get into the hands of the people who need them most.

Wozniak passes by the military static display vehicles in front of the Detroit Arsenal each day. “It really is cool to see them,” he says, noting that these exact vehicles may one day make the news on a field in Ukraine. The man who marveled at HMMWVs and Jeeps rolling past his campsite as a child recalls that seeing the military in action still plays a significant part in motivating him in his work at TACOM.

“I remember camping as a kid near Camp Grayling up in northern Michigan,” says Wozniak as we start our conversation. “They had tanks and trucks exercising out there, and watching them was something I’ve never forgotten. I remember seeing the military equipment and thinking, ‘this is awesome!’ I had stars in my eyes because the Soldiers were around, and I wanted all my toys to be military vehicles. I guess a big part of loving working [at TACOM] is that kid in me still being enamored by it all.”

After a succession of approvals for military aid to be sent to Ukraine over the last year, the work of TACOM and individuals like Wozniak have taken center stage. The military aid authorizations are there, but how exactly do you get an Abrams tank from a stateside Army depot to the front line in Ukraine? The question has then been how to best provide that support – to get equipment where it needs to go. In a conflict with continuously moving pieces and parts, getting that done requires ever greater coordination and communication. As Wozniak proves, the process often resembles a game of soccer.

“It’s all about coordination and communication. What you want is for a materiel release package to have as quick a turnaround as possible. But you’ve got to do things right – that's [MSO’s] job,” he starts. As it turns out, that coordination and communication has some unexpected roots.

“I actually always dreamed of being a professional soccer player. I played competitively through college but decided not to pursue it professionally” Wozniak would ultimately not pursue soccer professionally. Nevertheless, as he describes the role he plays in getting the right equipment to the right people, you cannot help but wonder if TACOM’s recipient of the AMC’s prestigious Louis Dellamonica award for excellence in support of AMC’s mission isn’t still a soccer player at heart.

When asked about how it feels to be singled out for an award due to his work in this process, the soccer player steps out again, downplaying the singular attention. “The materiel release process is just that – a process. I’m doing my part to ensure it is done properly but I’m a member of a great team of people all contributing. I take pride in my work, whether it’s conducting a training course or reviewing a materiel release package, I strive to provide a quality service. We spend so much of our week at our jobs, I think it’s important to do work that you feel proud of”.

If military logistical coordination can be compared to a game of soccer, any new player on the pitch would need a good mentor to set them up for success. “What I want most to be eventually remembered for is being someone who invests in and helps other people, like my team and supervisors did for me,” says Wozniak. He notes that he considers much of his success is due in part to those who helped him early on in his career. “Honestly, I got lucky,” he says.

“My supervisors sincerely took an interest in me and my development. I came to TACOM as a supply intern 14 years ago in TACOM’s Integrated Logistics Support Center. I just remember being really lucky with the trainer I had and the team I was placed on at the time – everyone just took such an interest in making sure that I was informed and had all the resources I needed. They included me and empowered me to have an opinion.”

As a ritual stemming back decades, around 6 p.m., much of America tunes into the nightly headline news broadcast. We see the war in Ukraine, and we watch as men and women fight against an invasion of their homes and neighborhoods. The conflict, to many, yet another move in a soccer match of global proportions. In the great game of geopolitics, according to Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” We rarely consider that among all the players playing their many parts, a soccer player might be a unique gear on which that great game is played. Nevertheless, people like Wozniak are still there – coordinating to get equipment where it needs to go and the ball just a little closer to the goal.

To the wide-eyed soccer player from Michigan who went out into the world to find his own way, congratulations on winning the AMC’s Louis Dellamonica award for the work you and your team does for Soldiers around the world.