A 1st Air Cavalry Brigade unit is in the running for an Army-level maintenance award to be decided this spring.

The real story, however, is how they got there.

“I’ve witnessed a 180-degree turn around,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marvin Crews, maintenance technician for Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. “When I got here in August 2012, a lot of techniques needed polishing, and a lot of soldiers needed training. Now, we’ve grown together, and every day we’re learning something new to better our unit and ourselves.”

Vehicle maintainers with the company, its battalion and with sister battalion 615th Aviation Support Battalion, placed first in the medium unit and large unit categories respectively at the division-level to win the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence in fall 2013, with the 615th also taking first place in the large unit category at the U.S. Forces Command-level.

Additionally, Echo Company advanced to the Department of the Army-level competition in the medium unit category and is awaiting an on-site inspection in April to continue evaluation.

Crews said he attributes the unit’s effectiveness not only to senior leaders, but also to team leaders and junior enlisted soldiers who strived for excellence.

“We have NCOs teaching junior soldiers on a daily basis, ensuring everyone is familiar with our standing operating procedures,” Crews said. “We’ve collectively added a lot of attention to detail. Our growth has been like peeling an onion, as every time we peel a layer back, we discover something new to refine and perfect.”

“Our soldiers did it all,” he added. “We have internal trackers in place now that accurately measure all of our resources. Everything we’ve implemented is working for us, and we will benefit from having not only stronger troops now, but more effective leaders in the future.”

The road to victory was much the same for the 615th, as they spent two years constantly improving their operations.

“When the 615th ... redeployed in June 2012, they failed every initial maintenance inspection — every single one,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marshall Goodman, the battalion maintenance technician. “This was due to the transition to garrison operations and a loss of key personnel. However, we worked together as a team to overcome these deficiencies, and ultimately have become the best maintenance battalion in FORSCOM.”

Goodman said the evaluation procedures began with a 20-page narrative of the battalion’s maintenance management program, followed by on-site assessments of the unit’s maintenance standing operating procedures, training, quality control and resource management programs.

Goodman said he’s convinced his battalion will take first place at the Army level in 2015, improving upon what they’ve learned since revamping their operations as maintainers.

“We’re going to keep getting better and continue competing,” Goodman said. “I know we’re a great battalion, and I think we have a great chance of winning it all next year.”

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