CHIAfE+VRES, Belgium - The Chief of Staff of the Army recognized the USAG Benelux Consolidated Maintenance Center as the Army's best during the Combined Logistics Excellence Awards in Richmond, Va., June 24.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr. presented Jeff Shriver, chief, USAG Benelux Maintenance Division, Directorate of Logistics, with the 2009 Army Award for Maintenance Excellence in the IMCOM-small category.

"This is an opportunity for me not to just recognize the winners here, but to recognize the whole Army logistics community," said Casey.

"We depend on you so much, but we don't say thank you near enough," the general added.

Shriver attended the awards ceremony with Carmello Scarcella, a machinist and the USAG Benelux Laborer Civilian of the Year. They were presented a four-star coin set and a plaque that read "for superior performance of duty in maintenance excellence, resulting in improved combat readiness."

"Last year, we did have a really good year," said Shriver. "We try so hard to make everything as mission ready as we can, and we continue with the thinking out of the box sort of attitude."

The Benelux CMC operates with that attitude on everything from repairing items for the Supreme Allied Commander Europe's aircraft to repairing fitness equipment on ChiAfA..vres Air Base. That variety of maintenance support helped lead to their victory.

Units were judged on four special areas of emphasis: mission accomplishment, effective resource management, innovative logistics management and Soldier quality of life. The Benelux was recognized as being the most improved organization in all areas of the evaluation, and they were commended for making the needed improvements with a shortage of personnel.

"We do creative things to keep the mission flowing," said Shriver, referring to his eight-person shop.

For example, he said that the Benelux is the only maintenance division in Europe that provides services for Interagency Fleet Management System vehicles, like ones used by military police.

"We do this on a reimbursable basis. We provide service that makes it very convenient for the customers. Our prices are not only competitive, but generally beat everybody downtown," he said, confirming that service like this is an asset during times of budget constraints.

"We do a lot of body work for them now," he added. "We started off small and worked our way up to where we are today. We also provide recovery service for cars that break down and stuff of that nature. Nobody else, that we're aware of, does stuff like this."

This year, 316 submissions were entered into the sixth annual logistics awards in multiple categories. After qualifying through IMCOM-Europe, the Benelux team went on to beat out Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Wainwright, Alaska; and Vicenza, Italy.

Shriver said he is proud to be associated with the men and women dedicated to mission support excellence.

"Together, we have undertaken a dramatic mission of rebuilding areas of our program that were dated, making ourselves more accountable for dependent customer service, providing improved communications, and we have backed each other up on the floor to grind out tough jobs that no one else wanted or could perform," he said.

Shriver is confident his team will be competitive again in 2010.

"We haven't stopped," he said. "We're doing a lot of new, creative things. Busy mechanics are happy mechanics, so we do a lot of things to keep them going.

"I'm very proud of this organization. Our people have really been putting out," he added.