June 4, 2009

Gate City maintenance shop receives award for maintenance excellence

By Capt. Matt Nowak
Virginia Army Guard Public Affairs

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Gate City’s Field Maintenance Shop #9 received the award for runner-up in the National Guard’s “Small TDA Unit” category at the Combined Logistics Excellence Award program ceremony June 2 in Alexandria.

  Maintenance Award

Sgt. Joseph Bellamy, a surface maintenance mechanic, recieves the runner-up CLEA plaque for the small TDA National Guard unit category from Lt. Gen. Mitch Stevenson, deputy Chief of Staff of the Army for logistics and Brig. Gen. Lynn Collyar, the Army's chief of ordnance. (Photo by Capt. Matt Nowak, Virginia Army Guard Public Affairs)

Sgt. Joseph Bellamy and Sgt. Ellis Lewis served as the shop’s representatives at the ceremony held at Hilton Alexandria Mark Center. FMS #9 is led by foreman Chief Warrant Officer 4 Douglas Spitzer and includes 12 Soldiers, mostly non-commissioned officers.

“The NCOs have a lot of experience. They are the ones who turn the wrenches and make things happen. We could not have won this award without the NCOs,” Spitzer said. “Because of them, I could take time away and the shop would run itself.”

“We didn’t do anything special,” Lewis said. “We were just doing what we normally do, but we entered the competition and almost won.”

FMS #9 lost points for not having a community service project. In order to improve upon their performance, the NCOs went down to the local vocational school and invited students to spend some time at the shop.

“We learned from our experiences this year and will work to improve our score for next year to take first place in the next competition,” explained Lewis.

As the unit representative, Bellamy walked across the stage to receive the runner-up plaque from Lt. Gen. Mitch Stevenson, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army for logistics and Brig. Gen. Lynn Collyar, the Army’s Chief of Ordnance. Bellamy also received a coin for the unit’s efforts.

The two Soldiers who attended were also treated to a day in Washington, D.C. with a tour of the Pentagon and VIP seats at the Twilight Tattoo on the National Mall.

  Maintenance Award

Brig. Gen. Stephen Huxtable presents a coin of excellence to Sgt. Ellis Lewis of Field Maintenance Shop #9. As a production controller, Lewis represented the unit at the Combined Logistics Excellence Award ceremony held in Alexandria, Va., June 2. (Photo by Capt. Matt Nowak, Virginia Army Guard Public Affairs)

The Assistant Adjutant General – Army, Brig. Gen Stephen Huxtable attended the ceremony and presented Bellamy and Lewis with his own coins.

“I am very proud of the accomplishments of the soldiers that work at Field Maintenance Shop 9.” said Huxtable. “Due to their hard work and desire to be the best, they won the second place award for the small TDA unit category. It was a tremendous pleasure for me to be with Sgt. Lewis and Sgt. Bellamy.”

The CLEA program combines the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence, the Deployment Excellence Award, and the Supply Excellence Award. Sponsored by the Chief of Staff of the Army, CLEA honors installations' and units' excellence in maintenance, deployment and supply operations.

The ceremony included 95 units in 50 different categories representing logistics programs that are the best in the Army and contributed significantly to Army readiness. The honorees were from Active Army, Reserve, and National Guard installations and units from around the world.

The competition and award process begins with an Army Command nominating one or more of its units based on published guidelines and regulations. From there, evaluators from the U.S. Army Transportation, Ordnance and Quartermaster Centers, augmented by Army National Guard and Reserve Soldiers, travel worldwide to conduct on-site evaluations of the units nominated by their commands. This year, for the first time, evaluators traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to look at nominees in some of the toughest operating conditions imaginable.

Some of the evaluation criteria was graded on the following: Army Materiel Status System readiness reports, well written and followed Standard Operating Procedures, verification of mission capable equipment and proper reporting of non-mission capable equipment, maintaining excellent maintenance and training records, establishing a unit-level approach to maintenance, involving everyone including command, and initiating innovative procedures that improve existing systems.

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