Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott D. Turner
343rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
BROKEN ARROW, Okla. - It was a sentimental ceremony, yet proud of its legacy as the 883rd Quartermaster Company and 315th Quartermaster Team were officially activated during a combined activation ceremony at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Broken Arrow, Okla.
The 883rd QM Co and 315th QM Team provide today's mechanical Army with storage and distribution of bulk fuel for other units, assisting with mission accomplishment.
The 883rd and 315th were formed from several other Army Reserve units. "I know you were members of the 164th, I was a proud member of the 164th as well," said Col. David Hammons, 90th Sustainment Brigade Commander, during his opening remarks. "As we made those transitions, people get a little sentimental about the old unit that we've been a part for so long and is going away.”
"I'm really excited that the lineage of the 164th and the 172nd continue as part of the 90th Sustainment Brigade, the 'Tough 'Ombres'. Our lineage in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas and the legacy of service to our communities and our country is tremendous, and seeing that 'TO' patch on the shoulder makes me proud," said Hammons.
Maj. Scott Richards, 316th QM Battalion Commander remarked, "You're writing a paragraph in your unit's lineage that will be forever part of military history. This is your chance to develop the best unit the Army has, to create new traditions, and to train new Soldiers to become great leaders to carry on those traditions. The greatness and future of your unit will depend upon you."
1st Lt. Dax Gray, in his first command, and acting 1st Sgt., Sgt. 1st Class Kent N. Simpson, have faced a difficult challenge in building a unit from the ground up. They recruited new Soldiers and ensured all needed equipment was ordered and ready for their new unit.
Many Soldiers expressed concerns about coming into a new unit. "I was a little nervous coming from the 164th and being a new Soldier in the unit," said Spc. Josephine Carlson, 883rd Fuel Supply Specialist. "I thought it would be hard fitting in and finding my place, but I felt very welcomed here. Everyone from new NCO's to lower enlisted have really worked hard to give myself and other new Soldiers opportunities to learn and be involved. I feel like it's been an easy move."
There are also many opportunities for anyone willing to put forth the effort. Spc. Dalton Replogle, who will be attending reclassification school for fueling, expressed that there's now opportunities for E4's that are ready to stand out and show they have something to contribute to the Army.
"We have some of our E5's and E6's excited about getting us out to train. We're actually going to get in the field, get dirty and do something," said Replogle.
Unit cohesion was also a concern. "One thing I've noticed in the Army - it's a faster Army, it's all about streamlining, it's all about trimming the fat. We're still an Army, but we have a much more business-like mentality now," said Replogle.
Replogle continued, "I think one of the most important things in the military is the new guy. Our main focus needs to be on them and getting them with the right mind frame. What a new Soldier needs to know right now is how to be 'squared away', being in the right uniform, being here on time and knowing where to be."
Soldiers now have the opportunity to get hands-on training with experienced Soldiers and working with actual situations, said Staff Sgt. Philip Rule, Fuel Supply Section Chief.
Rule expressed a concern that many of the unit's Soldiers came from a higher headquarters setting, and now most of the unit is made up of less experienced Soldiers. "Getting these two groups working together will take some time and getting used to each other and the command structure could be a major concern," said Rule.
Drill Sergeants from Sands Springs, Okla. will also be working with the new Soldiers assigned to the 883rd to ensure the unit's pre-basic Soldiers will receive outstanding instruction prior to attending basic training and Advanced Individual Training.
According to the 315th QM Team, 1st Sgt. Kent Simpson, since March of 2012 the 883rd has grown from around 50 Soldiers to today's approximately 150, almost achieving full manning. They feel blessed to be in Oklahoma where people associate military service with patriotic duty.
Standing up a new unit is one of the most challenging tasks the Army has. When asked what some of the 883rd's largest challenges are, their answers was unanimous -- becoming a full working team and learning how to work with each other and getting a full command team together.
Sgt. Lacie Hayes, 883rd QM Company Unit Administrator emphasized that many of the unit's Soldiers are actually new to the Army and others bring a rich history to the unit.
"We're all learning together and it's coming along quite nicely," Hayes said.