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NEWS | Sept. 5, 2018

311th ESC units leading the way, taking top awards

By Capt. Eric Connor 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

Two units from the 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), a U.S. Army Reserve logistics unit based in Los Angeles, are being recognized as the best of the best.

The 304th Sustainment Brigade and the 250th Transportation Company recently took home two prestigious awards.

The 304th Sust. Bde., based in Riverside, California, won the Department of the Army’s Supply Excellence Award, while the 250th Trans. Co., based in El Monte, California, garnered the Transportation Company of the Year Award.

“I was excited for our Soldiers as I know how hard they work every day. Truthfully, I was more excited when they decided to compete in the first place. I love it when we compete, because I know how much extra work is required for the competition itself,” said Col. Chris Barra, commander of the 304th Sust. Bde. 

The supply excellence award focuses on four categories. They are mission accomplishment, effective resource management, innovative logistics management and Soldier quality of life.

Staff Sgt. Ailid Beckstrom, a human resources noncommissioned officer for the 304th Sust. Bde., is glad to see their hard work paid off. 

“I felt very proud of the team. This is a very prestigious award and took many months and man hours to prepare for it. I feel very proud and humble knowing that in a small way I played a part in helping the team win such an important award,” said Beckstrom.

Just 40 miles down the road Soldiers at the 250th Trans. Co. are also getting some much deserved recognition for their remarkable accomplishments. The unit’s commander said his Soldiers have been working hard to sharpen their skills and perfect their craft but it did come as somewhat of a surprise that they beat out several other top notch transportation companies. 

“After my initial shock, though, I was pretty satisfied. We’ve been designated as a [Ready Force X] unit for I believe over a year now, and we’ve been working pretty hard to meet the demands placed upon us as an RFX unit, so it’s good to see that the efforts of our labor are paying off,” said Capt. Adrian Silva.

A sentiment shared by Col. Barra whose brigade is over the battalion the 250th Trans. Co. falls under.

“We try to encourage our units to compete at every level like the 250th Transportation Company ... Our Soldiers are starting to figure out that they are quite good at what they do, and that they can compete across the USAR as well as Big Army.”

One of the highlights leading up to the 250th Trans. Co. winning the award was its participation in support of Exercise Maple Resolve in May. Maple Resolve is a Joint, Multinational Exercise in Canada, which required the Soldiers to conduct convoys within the U.S. and Canada, to include the international border crossings. As a part of its mission, the unit ran successful convoys to and from Canada with the planning, preparing and execution all done by Troop Program Unit Soldiers. 

“In order to do our part in meeting USARC’s goal of making the Reserve a more capable, combat ready, and lethal force, I’ve been pushing to have the TPU Soldiers and leadership take more of an active role,” added Capt. Silva.

An active role he sees as just a part of the job but one that the Soldiers in both units relish and hope will raise their friendly competitive spirits.

“The team knows the right things to do, what to work on and how to present their achievements, so it will be very likely that we will compete again,” said Staff Sgt. Beckstrom. 

At the end of the work day, Col. Barra said he’s obviously proud of his Soldiers and said they should be, too.

“They should be incredibly proud of themselves. I think receiving the award, as well as their individual awards, from Maj. Gen. Palzer [79th TSC Commanding General and higher headquarters of the 311th ESC], with Brig. Gen. Del Rosso [311th ESC Commanding General] and the other ESC Commanders at the ceremony, lets them know just how special the award is. When we recognize accomplishments in the appropriate fashion, well, that's how we build Soldiers for life.”