By Keith Desbois, CASCOM Public AffairsOctober 13, 2011
FORT LEE, Va. - Supplying the ranks of the U.S. Army with proficient Soldiers takes more than just great training. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes support required to ensure Soldiers are successful in their occupational specialties, and the Quartermaster School recognized these efforts during the first 'Friends of the Quartermaster Day' Sept. 22.
Representatives from companies and organizations that provide both equipment and training expertise were guests for a day-long tour of the Quartermaster School. Each department invited supporters so that they could get an idea about how their contributions are used to help provide training.
"We wanted to assemble those we call 'friends' of the Quartermaster School and provide them with a command overview and tour of each department. That way they have a better understanding of who we are and what we do," Brig. Gen. Gwen Bingham, Quartermaster General and commandant of the Quartermaster School, said. "Without the people and outside organizations, we would not be able to conduct the outstanding training that we do for our Quartermasters."
The day started at the Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department, which instructs parachute riggers, shower and laundry, and clothing repair specialist training. After receiving a department briefing from Richard Santiago, ADFSD director, guests were guided through the multi-service training facility where they observed service members preparing parachutes for individual and cargo operations. This allowed the guests to see that their support not only helps the Army, but all the branches of service.
"This really makes you appreciate the magnitude of what the Quartermaster School does," said Brad Pedersen, HDT Airborne president. He has been working with the Quartermaster School for more than five years but this was his first visit to the school.
After leaving ADFSD, guests were given tours of the Joint Mortuary Affairs Center, Logistics Training, Joint Culinary Center of Excellence and Petroleum and Water departments.
The group also got to have lunch at a new dining facility and visit the U.S. Army Quartermaster and U.S. Army Women's museums, where tour participants were presented certificates of appreciation for their attendance.
Guests left at the end of the day with a new appreciation of what Fort Lee and the Quartermaster School offers service members and the American people.
"Each facility was fascinating. It was amazing how all the areas work together," said Leslie Roos, canine handler, Virginia Recovery Canines, Inc. "I learned so much today about how everybody works as a team."
According to Bingham, after the success of this year's visit, the Quartermaster School is planning on making this an annual event.