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Company B, 766th Brigade Engineer Battalion (BEB), based in Marseilles, Illinois, was named runner up in the Army National Guard Company Level 1 category of the Chief of Staff, Army Supply Excellence Award (SEA) program for fiscal year 2020.
Company B took top honors in the Illinois Army National Guard’s competition before competing in the national level competition.
“The key to being so successful in this competition was the combination of two things,” said Capt. Jacob Brue, of Petersburg, Illinois, Commander, Company B. “We have a very strong and determined full time unit staff and motivated, task-oriented Soldiers.”
Brue said the full time unit staff worked tirelessly at process improvement and organization, which ensured efficiency and promoted innovation within the supply function. He explained the traditional Soldiers came to drill motivated to conduct training as well as support and enact the policies and procedures that were put in place by the full time unit staff.
“Without the improved processes we would not have competed effectively and without the buy in and execution from the Soldiers, the processes would’ve just been good ideas, not reality,” he said. “Overall, I think this reflects the great strengths and unity we have at Company B. We are one team moving to complete common goals and, I guess in a more simplistic way, that is our key to success.”
Staff Sgt. Jessica Stirens, of Grand Ridge, Illinois, who was Company B’s supply non-commissioned officer during the awards process agreed.
“We could've had a million great ideas, but without the willingness to help from the entire company, this would have just been ideas,” she said. “But we wouldn't have had anything tangible to show the evaluation team.”
Stirens said the process of submitting the competition packet began in June 2020, with the packet being fine-tuned at each level of the competition. From the start of the process to final notification of the Department of the Army-level results, the process took nearly eight months.
“It took about ten days to put together the original packet for the state’s endorsement,” Stirens said. “Once the endorsement came, our team worked very hard to make it even better before the final product was due to the regional board.”
When the unit was notified they were moving from phase one of the National board to phase two, the team had to refine the packet, providing more detailed information in a smaller packet, as well as a video interview with sub-hand receipt holders, the supply room team and a virtual walk through of the supply room, Stirens noted.
“We also had a virtual evaluation with the SEA evaluation team and had to submit a powerpoint project as well,” she said.
Stirens said the evaluation team provides a detailed list of what they are seeking in each packet and the ILARNG’s state logistics staff provided suggestions on how to make the packet as professional as possible and easy to navigate.
“The initial packet was well over 800 pages when it was complete, so making sure it was easy for the evaluators to search through was something small that was able to set it apart from the rest,” she said.
Stirens said she believes this is the first time Company B has competed in the SEA competition, but she hopes it won’t be the last.
Since Stirens has stepped into the role of Company B’s training NCO, and there’s a new supply NCO on board.
“Sgt. Matthew Cooper is doing great things to build on our supply procedures which were already in place,” she said.
The SEA originated in November 1984 to recognize excellence in supply operations at both unit and organizational levels. This award measures logistical readiness and supply effectiveness and has four different levels of competition that encompass all echelons of command.