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NEWS | May 30, 2023

Army Reserve junior Soldier supplies power to an air base

By Capt. Janeen Phelps 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

Missions are not always executed with full capabilities. As a result, commanders will often accept prudent risk where necessary to ensure the mission is completed. When gaps need to be filled, commanders may choose to exercise talent management from within their ranks. That happened to be the case with the generator subject matter expert, Spc. Alexander Darrow.

Darrow, a deployed Reserve Soldier and the only tactical power generation specialist assigned to 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, works on a power generation system in Jordan with purpose and passion.

As a tactical power generation specialist, Darrow has supplied the power needed to run virtually every aspect of activity on the air base. In addition, Darrow’s job supports the unit by providing power for equipment that is required to accomplish the mission. The power supply provides the air base with electricity, heat, and air-conditioning, allowing the alternate command post to communicate with the operational command post.

Darrow has worked on power generation supplies for almost three years in the Army. However, he began working on wheel bearings with his grandfather around the age of 8, leading to his knack for fixing things. His prior maintenance experience and advanced individual training from the Army make him a true subject matter expert.

Since arriving in Jordan, Darrow has performed maintenance and repairs on transmissions, small engines, small all-terrain utility vehicles, skid-steer loaders, power-generation equipment, and associated equipment in mobile and stationary power plants.

“I’ve been working on prime equipment since I’ve been out here,” said Darrow, explaining how the tasks are outside his military occupational specialty. “But in actuality, a generator is a generator. So I’m just really happy to be out here supporting the mission. I feel like I’m making a difference.”

The 143d ESC Headquarters & Headquarters Company Commander Capt. Marlena Janes said, “Sending a junior Soldier to a pretty remote area to run the generators without a noncommissioned officer is a risk.” However, sending Darrow on the solo mission led to successful operations on a remote air base because of the amount of equipment he could troubleshoot, order parts for, and fix as parts came in. “I would absolutely do it again.”

Commanders’ ability to accept risk and empower junior leaders such as Darrow provide real-world scenarios for Reserve Soldiers to hone skill sets in a mobilized environment. These opportunities encourage not only professional development but leadership through empowerment. As a result, leadership, training, and experience gained through military service are second-to-none.