WASHINGTON, D.C.– (09/12/2014)(readMedia)-- The Illinois Army National Guard's 108th Special Troops Battalion based in Chicago received a national-level Army Award for Excellence in Maintenance (AAME) Sept. 10 during the 10th Annual United States Army Combined Logistics Excellence Award ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The 108th STB, which deployed to Kuwait in January under the 108th Sustainment Brigade in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, placed first in the large-unit category in the 2013 AAME competition. This is the second year since 2011 the unit has received the award.
"The AAME gives recognition and improves overall readiness," said Col. Drew Dukett of Roodhouse, Illinois, the 108th Sust. Bde. commander. "When you have a checklist of what needs to be done per the regulation you have to maintain a high level of readiness and maintenance."
This competition maintains the efforts and progress the 108th has already made in its stride toward efficiency, said Dukett.
"Especially in tough fiscal times, maintenance is vitally important. It preserves our ability to conduct military operations and saves the taxpayer the cost of having to replace Army equipment," said Dukett. "My Soldiers understand this and it has shown in their work. I'm proud of them and their dedication. The AAME award is a reflection of their efforts."
AAME evaluators from Fort Lee, Virgina, conducted onsite inspections in the final phase of the competition earlier this year. Evaluators visited the 108th STB's facilities in both North Riverside and the Northwest Armory near Humboldt Park.
The competition involves a thorough inspection in different areas of the unit including maintenance, supply, training and overall unit readiness. The AAME competition is divided into different phases spanning several months. The 108th STB won maintenance competitions at the state, regional and National Guard Bureau levels.
Competition categories are determined by the number of personnel assigned to a unit or command. Units with 300 or more personnel compete in the large category.
The 20-page nomination packet, required to enter the AAME competition, illustrated the unit's maintenance programs and Soldier readiness. The 108th STB is the first unit in the Illinois National Guard to win in the large category since the 232nd Combat Support Battalion out of Springfield in 2001.
The 108th SB as a whole is no stranger to logistical excellence awards. Units and Solders within the brigade have received awards and citations for excellence in supply, maintenance and combat support operations in recent years.
Capt. Alison Jacobs of Rochester, Illinois, the logistics officer with the 108th STB said the unit's success in the competition reflects the unit's overall dedication to mission readiness and support in Illinois and abroad.
"A major part of the AAME program revolves around units displaying that they are prepared for their mission for internal and external support," Jacobs said. "Being mission ready is especially critical for logistical support units."
Jacobs said it was the team effort that made the 108th STB successful in the AAME competition.
"Success doesn't come from the efforts of one person," said Jacobs. "It's a team dynamic, drawing support throughout the unit, from the leadership to Soldiers in the motor pool. It's not just about reaching the standard, but exceeding it and continuing to maintain that level."