REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The Sergeant Major of the Army and command sergeant majors from across the world gathered at the U.S. Army Materiel Command, Jan. 9-11, for a Board of Directors conference and an opportunity to learn about AMC and its contribution to the Army.

"I want to promote a greater understanding with our sergeant major population about what other pieces of our Army do," Raymond F. Chandler II, Sergeant Major of the Army said. "We've been in a fight for quite some time now. Most of the Soldiers in the Army are recipients of something else that another part of the Army does, but they may not actually see it, touch it, feel it, and taste it. So by coming here, we have a little bit of an idea what AMC does for the Army."

AMC equips, enables, sustains and integrates materiel readiness for the Army. As the unofficial motto states, If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.

An example of a solution that came from AMC to answer a combat need was pull away handles from HUMVEES.

The Army started to apply these handles to HUMVEEs as a safety measure to provide escape for Soldiers when a vehicle overturns. It was built and designed by Prototype Integration Facility, a research arm of AMC, at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

"That was a huge issue for me when I was in Iraq," Chandler said. "We were in locations that vehicles tended to roll over and unfortunately, Soldiers drowned because they could not get out of their vehicle. We could not figure out how to make it work, but these folks here in a few days were able to get the concept, put it into action and get it to Iraq within 30 days."

"We don't do many things at the Army level in 30 days," said Chandler.

"These folks (at AMC) had the desire to do what's right and necessary. It's incredible when you think about it that way," he continued. "I don't think we do enough to promote what AMC does for the Army. 'Quiet Professionals' is how I would describe them, a very large civilian population, contractors and military that work for AMC."

"It is incredible what the folks at AMC do if you look at the 11 major subordinate commands [that report to AMC] and how they at the end of the day help some young sergeant who is on point for our nation. It's great for me to be able to see that and tell some of them thank you for what they do," Chandler said.

In rapidly changing fiscal environment drawdown efforts remains a topic of concern.

"One of the things we are committed to as an Army is a managed drawdown. It's not a precipitous drop. The last time this has really happened for us is right after Desert shield/ Desert storm, where in one year we eliminated almost 100,000 Soldiers," Chandler recalled.

"We also have a national strategy that the President has given us, which says that for the nation's defense in the future this is the size force that we need. We have a responsibility to the American people to shape the Army in the best manner possible to accomplish that mission. Even if it is smaller than what it is today," Chandler said.

Chandler acknowledges the Army is facing changes, but encourages the AMC workforce to continue their efforts to support Soldiers.

"Thank you; we appreciate your hard work and dedication, whether soldier, civilian or contractor. Each one of those folks is doing something for the Army and the Nation," Chandler concluded. "That's a pretty noble thing."