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TACOM civilian injured in Afghanistan receives medal

Gregory Jones was working in TACOM Life Cycle Management Command’s Integrated Logistics Support Center in Warren, Michigan, when he deployed to Afghanistan in early 2011. On March 9, 2017, Jones received the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom.
He was a training instructor for the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, or CROWS, the system that enables gunners inside a vehicle to aim and fire a weapon mounted on top of the vehicle. It was his first time deploying as a civilian employee but he had been to the Middle East five times during his seven-year Navy career as a weapons explosives gunner’s mate.
In addition to teaching users how to operate CROWS, his duties included making field repairs on the system – which is what he was on his way to do for Navy special operations forces on May 12, 2011. After a three-hour convoy from Kandahar heading toward one of the 10 camps at which he was responsible for maintenance, the RG-33 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle in which he was riding ran over a roadside bomb, seriously injuring three of the five crew members and passengers. A medical evacuation helicopter airlifted Jones and the two others for emergency medical treatment. Everyone survived, but Jones’ right leg had been shattered.
“The RG-33 is probably the reason why I’m still alive,” he said. “If we had been in a Humvee, no one would have survived. There was a rumor that we actually hit a second (explosive). We were in the air for about three seconds. When we landed the axles were barely hanging on and the engine was about 50 feet away.”
He was in the hospital a total of less than two weeks in Afghanistan, Germany and Washington, D.C., before returning home to Northeastern Ohio to continue his recovery and rehabilitation. One doctor told him he would not walk again for five months, but after designing his own physical therapy regimen – mostly in the pool at his apartment complex – he was not only walking but also back to work within three months. He voluntarily deployed back to Afghanistan in January 2012, less than a year after his injuries.
Although he still feels debilitating pain from his injuries to this day, Jones volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan one more time before he resigned his position in July 2015 for something closer to his Ohio home.
Nearly two years later, Jones returned to TACOM to receive the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom. Maj. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters Jr., TACOM LCMC commanding general, presented the medal to Jones in TACOM’s ceremonial lobby in front of Jones’ family, friends and former colleagues.

LeMasters emphasized the important role Army civilians play in theatre and the risks they face. “I think it is very important among this team that the total Army recognizes the contributions … of the team effort that goes into a combat zone to keep soldiers alive,” LeMasters said. “To have a civilian employee of this command training another service on the system that the Army produced and fielded is quite a remarkable thing. On behalf of this nation and this command, thank you for what you did while you were here. I’m proud to present this to you,” he said.
The Defense of Freedom medal was established to acknowledge Department of Defense civilian employees killed or wounded in the line of duty, similar to the Purple Heart for uniformed military members. According to a 2001 memorandum signed by the assistant secretary of defense, it “symbolizes the extraordinary fidelity and essential service of the department’s civilian workforce who are an integral part of DOD and who contribute to the preservation of national security.”

Women leaders share experiences with TACOM audience

“Celebrating women’s history is not about how women compete with men, it’s about celebrating each other’s strengths, abilities and contributions.”
Those were the words of retired Army Lt. Gen. Patricia E. McQuistion, the keynote speaker for TACOM Life Cycle Management Command’s Women’s History Month observance March 22.
The former deputy commanding general for Army Materiel Command celebrated women but urged the audience in the auditorium to remember the things men and women have in common, and to keep striving and aspiring the ideals that define us as Americans.
Some of those ideals are in the U.S. Constitution and she said it is important that soldiers and Army civilian employees who support and defend that Constitution, understand what it means. She talked specifically about the 19th Amendment.
“It has only been 97 years since American women achieved the right to vote. That’s the turning point in the history of the struggle for equal treatment. It took 72 years of campaigning and meetings, and speeches, rallies and petitions and sometimes even jail by a huge civil rights movement for women. That’s three generations to get that passed. Talk about persistence.”
McQuistion, who now is on the staff of the Association of the United States Army, went on to say that although many trailblazing women have made progress, there is room for improvement.
“It’s always a little awkward when you talk about progress and you say, ‘Yay, we’ve come a long way,’ and then in the next breath we have to say, ‘There’s still more we have to do if we are to fulfill our full potential as individuals and teams, and as an Army and a nation.’ But it’s the truth. There’s a lot more we can and must do because it’s also the truth that women in this country and around the world do not have equal rights or equal bounds. Even the United Nations has declared that no society – no society,” she emphasized, “treats its women as well as men. It’s a sobering statement.”
Although women aren’t treated equally, they are better than men at some things, she said. Some of the studies she cited said that women:
  • Learn better and tend to be more attentive, more flexible and more organized
  • Are smarter than men
  • Graduate from college at a higher rate than men
  • Are better at handling interviews because they prepare more
  • Are better managers because they listen better, provide mentorship, and are problem solvers and multi-taskers
  • Take a longer-term investment view, resulting in higher earnings
  • Live longer and are healthier
McQuistion recapped that list as laughter among the crowd grew louder: “Smarter, better educated, good workers and bosses, healthier, longer lived. Hmm, those are not bad categories to be in the lead on.”
In closing, the general said, “We should celebrate and expand on the progress of those who blazed the trails for us – a great effort that reaches younger generations before they get to the workforce. Thank a woman for being here today. Take advantage of what our predecessors – men and women, heroes and ‘she-roes’ – fought so long and so hard to give us. Let’s keep recognizing contributions of all individuals and all teams that keep us the greatest nation on earth.”
Following her keynote address, McQuistion joined three other women from industry on a panel to answer questions. Marion Whicker, acting executive director of the TACOM Integrated Logistics Support Center, was the moderator.
Panelist Chandra S. Lewis, co-founder and CEO of a public relations marketing firm in Detroit, said she has two key things that help her manage the Allen Lewis Agency.
“I have no work-life balance, as professed by the 1:30 and 2 a.m. emails that my colleagues often get from me,” she admitted. “But I will say in my attempt to balance, two things come to mind: prayer and preparedness. I was a Girl Scout but I never knew how (‘be prepared’) would continue to serve me every day. Every day.”
A single parent, Lewis said, “Fifty percent of women participate in the labor force, and 70 percent of women with children under 18 participate in the labor force. How can they do that? Prayer and preparedness. I would absolutely say that that’s the way that that is achieved,” she said to audience laughter.
Monica L. Martinez is senior vice president for external affairs and the national director of Hispanic business development for Comerica Bank. Whicker asked her what she would like to tweak about herself.
“Self-awareness is very important for all of us to have,” she said. “Sometimes we have non-realistic ideals of who we are and it takes other people to have that courage to tell you, ‘Hey, you think you’re pretty good at this but you could probably tweak it.’
“I really think of my life as an athlete would in that you’re preparing for a track meet, you’re preparing to have a better time on your run. So for me it really is that idea of success equals where you have the combination of preparation meets opportunity. Every time that I’m improving on something I am being prepared for that next thing that when the timing is right I’ll have, hopefully, a seat at the table.”
Martinez went on to describe a job opening at her workplace for which she had all the qualifications but wasn’t being considered. She was at an event when she saw someone who could have a direct influence on her future and approached him. “It’s understanding and knowing how things work,” she said, “and you get that from being prepared. I sat next to him and we had a great conversation,” she said. Three days later, she had the job.
“So when you ask me what I’m working on, being prepared is my key thing. I’m constantly striving to see what the next thing is and taking notes each time to see how I can improve.”
Diane Renaud, executive director and chief executive officer of St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center in Detroit was another panelist. She was asked to discuss a pivotal moment in her career.
She talked about being recruited several years ago for a six-month position at the center, which was about to lose funding to continue as a residential and foster care agency for children. Having learned the background of the agency and seeing its potential to continue community service after 170 years, she talked the hiring authorities into meeting all of her salary and benefits terms along with up to two years to turn the organization around. She brought them from caring for 250 students a year at one location to serving 1,200 students across five locations in Detroit today.
Renaud said the pivotal moment, when she surprised even herself, was standing up to them at the interview and saying, “I see what you don’t see. Get out of my way. And they went, ‘Oh, OK.’”
The Women’s History Month observance was part of the TACOM Human Capital directorate’s speaker series. April’s observance, Holocaust Days of Remembrance, will feature Martin Lowenberg, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps and other atrocities from 1933-1945.

Senior Service College Fellows visit training center, Humvee production site

The Midwest Senior Service College fellows visited the Fort Custer Training Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, March 21-22, and AM General in South Bend, Indiana, March 24.
Detroit Arsenal and TACOM Life Cycle Management Command fellows are John Gates and Michael Fraley, TACOM LCMC; Paul Coles and Kathy Lytle, program executive office Combat Support and Combat Service Support; and Chad Stocker, PEO Ground Combat Systems.
Fort Custer, which is federally-owned and state-operated, is home to the 177th Regiment, Regional Training Institute and Regional Maintenance Training Site. It encompasses 7,500 acres, which includes battalion level training areas, weapons ranges, obstacle courses, simulators and an education center equipped with classrooms, conference rooms, billeting and dining.
AM General is a privately held company best known in the defense sector for its production of the Humvee.
On March 21, the group received a tour and several briefings, which included overviews of Fort Custer, the U.S. Navy Operational Support Center, Ordnance Training Company, and Materiel Fielding and Training new equipment training. The next morning was dedicated to hands-on training and operation of Army construction equipment, including the 120M grader, 621 scraper, high mobility engineer excavator, light capability rough terrain forklift, M105 Deuce and D6K tractor. Hands-on experience provided the fellows with insights into the multitude of skills required and challenges experienced by Soldiers. This type of experience will benefit the fellows in the execution of their acquisition profession through a better understanding of the soldier’s needs.
At AM General, the fellows received a company overview, and an overview of their commodity lines and supply chain management. They also received a tour of military and commercial assembly plants and visited AM General’s Humvee test track. There, the fellows received training on the Humvee operation, including navigating 40 and 60 percent slopes, moguls and climbing a 22-inch vertical step. Once the fellows were trained, they were offered the opportunity to drive through the course. This hands-on experience demonstrated the exceptional capabilities of the Humvee and revealed the level of training required for our Soldiers to effectively operate the vehicle. The AM General visit provided the fellows with insight into industry priorities and challenges, how the company is adapting to an ever-increasing global market and commodity line variety, and the hands-on experience to better comprehend soldiers’ challenges.
The Senior Service College Fellowship is a 10-month graduate-level program that prepares Army senior civilians (board selected GS-14/15 & equivalents) for leading Army acquisition and sustainment organizations. The SSCF supports Army research, development, acquisition and sustainment organizations at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland; and Warren, Michigan. 
On March 28, 2013, U.S. Army G3/5/7 granted Military Education Level I equivalency to SSCF, recognizing it as the only senior service school equivalent to Army War College.

Top logistics leader: Readiness requires big actions

With straight talk, the Army’s senior logistician challenged industry partners and his own workforce to help meet the demands of Army readiness.

Delivering the Army Materiel Command Update at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium and Exposition March 13, Gen. Gus Perna described the challenges of a next war and warned of the potential atrocities that could hamper equipment delivery to a forward location.

“Frankly, the challenges of tomorrow are nothing like we had yesterday,” he said.

From a sunk ship to a disabled train, Perna noted the result could wipe out an entire brigade combat team’s worth of equipment.

“Are we ready to react to that?” Perna wondered aloud if today’s military has the acquisition system, training and know-how to face such a challenge. “Are we seeing ourselves and preparing to execute in a multi-domain environment?”

The Army is working toward that end, Perna said. For its part, he said the Army Materiel Command is doing its best to execute the mission.

“We need to ensure that 100 percent of our workforce is executing 100 percent of the work,” he said. “We don’t have time; we must have everybody engaged.”

Perna challenged industry partners to be more judicious in filing contract protests and pledged adherence to the highest standards on the Army’s end.

“We need to increase speed and accuracy as we develop our requirements, then hold ourselves accountable to milestones and execution of the contracting process,” Perna said. “We’re taking that on. We are going to hold our workforce accountable to that end state.”

While the Army’s top leaders are focusing on readiness, modernization and challenging the status quo, Perna identified immediate actions the Army Materiel Command is undertaking to enhance readiness.

Redistributing on-hand equipment is a top priority, Perna said. With 980,000 pieces of the right equipment in the wrong place, the Army Materiel Command is reallocating the items where they are needed most. At the same time, the command is divesting 1.3 million pieces of equipment that are no longer needed.

Keeping the soldier confident in the Army’s equipment means ensuring supply availability so that repair parts are where they need to be, whether for training or on the battlefield.

“We need to restructure our demand process and change the algorithm to meet future demand, not react to past demand,” he said.

As Congress looks for ways to cut costs, Perna said he must be able to articulate how the Organic Industrial Base is connected to the Sustainable Readiness Model.

Ensuring Army Prepositioned Stocks are properly configured for combat, maintaining science and technology capabilities and ensuring foreign military sales enable partner capabilities are also key to providing readiness, Perna said.

Army Materiel Command hosts change of responsibility

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – What may have appeared to many as a symbolic gesture was much more than that, said the Army’s senior logistician and commander of Army Materiel Command.

Gen. Gus Perna hosted a change of responsibility for AMC’s senior enlisted leader in a formal ceremony that transferred responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. James K. Sims to Command Sgt. Maj. Rodger Mansker at the AMC parade field March 17.

“This [ceremony] is about who is responsible for the colors of the command,” said Perna. “He who holds them, holds our command together. Without them the command would fail -- this is not a routine.”

And for three and a half years, Sims has carried that responsibility.

“As a life-long sustainer, his understanding of the organic industrial base and global logistics has played a vital role in our ability to identify risks and solve problems. He equipped General Via and then me with a wealth of information and wise counsel. Command Sergeant Major [Sims], you will be missed.”

Sims has served in uniform for 33 years, and 13 of those years were as a command sergeant major.

“Throughout his career, he has always been an example of what right looks like,” said Perna.

Reflecting on his time at AMC, Sims said that it was the people who made him successful.

“Today is not about me; it’s about the Command Sergeant Major of Army Materiel Command -- the position,” said Sims. “Success in a unit is not about the talent of the individuals. If I was successful as the AMC Command Sergeant Major, it was only due to the individual strengths and talents of the people throughout the entire command.”

And despite uncertainty in the world, Sims says, “AMC will continue to do what AMC does best, and that’s support the warfighter.”

Sims will retire in a ceremony in April at Fort Lee, Virginia.

Introducing the new command sergeant major to the command, Perna said, “We are gaining a very experienced command sergeant major.”

“Command Sergeant Major Mansker has held many sustainment and leadership positions in the past,” said Perna. “From his initial service as a heavy wheeled vehicle mechanic in a maintenance company to serving as the command sergeant major in three separate brigades, he brings depth and experience that will help us move forward.”

Mansker’s previous duty assignment was as the Headquarters, Department of the Army, Deputy Chief of Staff-G4 Sergeant Major. Prior to that, Mansker served as the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command.

After 31 years of service, Mansker says he’s still a soldier and left the audience with two points dear to him -- respect and leadership.

“You have my respect because of what you do for our country, and my pledge to you is that I will gain your respect. Respect is not gained by rank or position alone. Respect is gained through actions,” said Mansker. “My second point is leadership. Leaders should never forget where they came from. We all grow, but you can never leave the person that is working for you behind. It’s your job to develop them, make sure they are informed and make sure they are ready to take the baton when you are not there -- that is leadership.”

As the 16th command sergeant major of Army Materiel Command, he also promised the workforce that his door would always be open and that he would always give candid advice.

America on the brink of the First World War

WASHINGTON – By April 1917, people were already calling the war between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers the Great War, and they were right to do so. 
Millions of soldiers confronted each other on the battlefields of France and Russia with thousands dying each day, even when there were no big offensives.
And on April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on the German Empire, joining France, Great Britain, Russia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Italy. They were arrayed against Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. 
Both sides expected a quick and relatively bloodless victory when the war started in 1914. By the time the U.S. joined the fight, the population of whole nations had dedicated themselves to winning the war. Millions of men were growing ever more proficient at using new technologies to kill each other.
The names of the bloody battles in Europe were already well known to Americans, as a corps of outstanding war reporters from the major newspapers covered combat and sent back daily reports. The Somme, Verdun and Tannenberg resonated in the United States, just as they did in Europe.
France had a long scar running across it where millions of German, Austrian, French and British soldiers lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers for gains measured in yards. Russian soldiers, tired of the war, were joining revolutionaries calling for the end of the war. Russia’s Czar Nicholas II had abdicated in March, and while Russia continued to fight, it was half-hearted. Fighting was ongoing in Italy, the Balkans, Mesopotamia (now Iraq), Palestine and Africa. 
Such was the situation on April 6, 1917, when the United States formally declared war on the German Empire and joined the Allied camp.
Zimmerman Telegram
President Woodrow Wilson had campaigned and won re-election under the slogan “He kept us out of war.” He was sworn in for his second term on March 5, 1917, but already the man who was “too proud to fight” was revising his thinking.
“Wilson truly wanted to stay out of the war,” said Brian F. Neumann, a historian with the Army’s Center of Military History and the editor of the service’s series on the war. “To his thinking, if the United States had to enter the war, then it had to be for more than just maintaining the status quo.”
Diplomats in Europe called the United States “The Great Neutral” and U.S. envoys worked to affect a peace on the continent. But on Jan. 31, the German ambassador to the United States delivered a note to American officials stating that Germany will begin unrestricted submarine warfare. This meant Germany would sink without prior warning any ship sailing near Great Britain, France, Italy and in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
“This is not as shocking today as it was a century ago,” Neumann said. “The Germans were scraping the bottom of their manpower barrel and they saw isolating Great Britain as their best chance of knocking the country out of the war. Americans regarded this as another example of German brutality and their desire to make war on civilians.” 
Wilson was gobsmacked, and the next day he severed diplomatic relations with the German Empire, but stopped short of seeking a declaration of war.
At the end of February, Wilson learned of the Zimmermann Telegram. This is a telegram intercepted by the British from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German ambassador in Mexico City. The telegram instructs the ambassador to offer the president of Mexico -- with whom the United States had a strained relationship -- Texas, Arizona and New Mexico if his country declares war on the United States.
U.S. officials confirmed the telegram was authentic and released it to the press on Feb. 28. The American people were enraged, and Wilson ordered merchant steamers to be armed.
‘No Selfish Ends to Serve’
In the next few weeks the German U-boat campaign sank three U.S-flagged ships and that campaign was intensifying. Wilson called for a special session of Congress to meet on April 2. On that date, Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany.
“Woodrow Wilson was a very reluctant warrior,” Neumann said. “[He thought] if Americans are going to get involved in the quarrels of Europe, it had better be for a greater good.”
The president saw the war leading to the dissolution of empires, and leading to self-government.
“The world must be made safe for democracy,” Wilson said in his address to Congress. “Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.
“We have no selfish ends to serve,” he continued. “We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.”
Four days later, Congress sent the declaration of war to Wilson for his signature. 
A Different America
Both the Allied and Central Powers realized the power the United States could bring to the war. The population of the United States in 1917 was roughly 103.3 million. Of those, about 15 million were foreign-born and there was great concern that these “new Americans” wouldn’t fight for the nation. There were, after all, hundreds of German-language newspapers in the United States, serving more than 2 million people who had been born in the German Empire.
Most Americans – 55 percent – lived and worked in rural areas. Farms had little mechanized assistance. There were still good careers for farriers, smithies and farm laborers, as horses and mules still supplied much of the motive power in and around the United States.
Highways were small and any long-distance trip was on a rail car pulled by a steam engine. Aircraft were still so new that people would come from miles around if one landed in a nearby town.
Telegrams were how most people got news from relatives far away, but telephone lines were growing. Radio – then called wireless telegraphy – was a promising new technology. Moving pictures – movies – were discounted by many as a passing fad.
By law, women could not vote. By practice, in many places neither could African-Americans or other people of color. 
And there were divergent opinions on the war itself, Neumann said. The United States had a large number of Irish immigrants with little love for Great Britain.
“Millions more from Eastern and Southern Europe had come to the United States to get away from the arbitrary rules of aristocracies,” he said. “But still, by 1917, a good-sized majority of Americans saw the need to enter the war on the Allied Powers side.”
American Might
The United States was a game-changer. America was an industrial colossus. In 1900, the U.S. Steel Corporation alone made more steel products than all of Great Britain. Henry Ford’s Model T and his assembly line efficiencies meant the day of the horse and buggy were fast becoming a thing of the past. Industrialization of agricultural processes would mean fewer laborers needed on farms and more needed in factories.
The United States had a literate and growing workforce and that combined with the mass production of things and the means to transport those things were revolutionizing America.
The United States, in short, was a country of tremendous potential, and so was its military.
The Great War was conflict on an industrial scale. Men were as interchangeable as cogs in a machine. Millions manned the trenches and millions more behind the lines supplied them and still millions more made the instruments of death.
The U.S. military wasn’t even remotely to that kind of level. The U.S. Army had a grand total of 121,797 enlisted men and 5,791 officers on April 6, 1917. The Army was spread at posts around the American West and on constabulary duties in the Philippines, Puerto Rica, Cuba and Panama. 
The Army had few machine guns, no heavy artillery, few planes, no tanks, little munitions, few trucks and vehicles.
The National Guard had a grand total of 181,620 personnel and they were cursed with uneven training and even older equipment than the active force.
The Army had not organized into divisions since the Civil War and most officers knew little or nothing about moving and fighting large formations.
The Navy was little better with about 300 ships and 60,000 sailors, but the Royal Navy really did rule the waves then and the need for U.S. sea power was not as critical.
On April 6, 1917, few could guess what role the American military would play in The Great War. But the declaration of war itself marked America’s long stride to the center of human events. America and Americans were unprepared, but willing to make the sacrifices.
It would take time for American military power to grow, learn and mature, but it would be decisive in The Great War.

120 programs on hold due to unpredictable funding

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The most formidable threat the Army faces today is not a resurgent Russia, a more sophisticated Chinese military or even terrorist networks. It’s fiscal uncertainty, one of the Army’s top civilians said March 14.

Over the years, the Army’s modernization efforts have suffered because of unpredictable funding due to Congress not passing budgets, according to Karl F. Schneider, the senior official performing the duties of the Army’s under secretary.

“The real threat to our mission is the lack of consistent, reliable and sufficient funding,” Schneider said while speaking at the Association of the United States Army’s global force symposium.

More than 120 programs – almost half of them brand new – that improve modernization and give the Army more weapons and platforms are now delayed. Much of their funding has been diverted to maintain readiness. “We’ve been mortgaging our modernization future to take care of mission readiness,” he said.

The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017 recently increased the Army’s active component by 16,000 to an end strength of 476,000. While that could eventually cost the Army billions of dollars to grow its force, the service has not yet received any funding for it.

“We didn’t get the money for that,” Schneider said in an interview. “We are recruiting those Soldiers, we are retaining Soldiers and we are doing our best of what Congress has told us to do, but we’re spending money in hopes that we’ll get that money back.”

The Senate still needs to pass a spending bill for fiscal 2017 after the House recently passed its version, which was favorable to the Army, he said. If not passed by April 20, the Army would remain operating on a continuing resolution.

If the Army does not get reimbursed, he said, those costs may be taken out of readiness accounts, leading to combat training center rotations and other training being canceled. “We really don’t want to do [that] because that erodes readiness, not only today but tomorrow and into the future,” he said.

Despite the hurdles, today’s Army is still taking care of business with 184,000 Soldiers in over 140 countries, and its reach extends to many other areas. “We contribute more money, more support for infrastructure, more contracting and more logistics to support the joint force than any other service,” Schneider said.

But the Army’s future force may not be as robust if it has to deal with out-of-date systems and stronger potential adversaries. Some of them, he noted, now have missile, rocket and artillery systems with a farther range than those found in the U.S. Army. New threats by unmanned aerial systems, cyber and electronic warfare capabilities are also concerns.

“Our aging systems are expensive to maintain and no longer provide the overmatch we need to win,” he said. “There may actually be an unforgiving window in the next decade where a few adversaries can achieve parity in some capabilities with us.”

Innovation from industry partners can help fill in the gaps of capabilities, he said, adding the Army must take advantage of technological advances the private sector has been making.

“We must be more open and willing to work with our industry partners,” he said, suggesting that more solutions can come from business incentives and less bureaucracy.

Any new technology that keeps Soldiers better equipped and safe while in combat could also touch on all three of the acting Army secretary’s three priorities of readiness, people and resources.

“This will enable us in the future to ensure that our Soldiers never have to face a fair fight,” Schneider said. “Regardless of political party [or] administration, this is our shared and sacred obligation.”

Trump seeks $30B more in fiscal 2017 to rebuild military, fight ISIS

WASHINGTON – In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan March 16, President Donald J. Trump asked for another $30 billion for the Defense Department in this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, to rebuild the armed forces and accelerate the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The fiscal 2017 budget amendment provides $24.9 billion in base funds for urgent warfighting readiness needs and to begin a sustained effort to rebuild the armed forces, according to the president’s letter.

“The request seeks to address critical budget shortfalls in personnel, training, maintenance, equipment, munitions, modernization and infrastructure investment. It represents a critical first step in investing in a larger, more ready and more capable military force,” Trump wrote.

The request includes $5.1 billion in overseas contingency operations funds so the department can accelerate the campaign to defeat ISIS and support Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan, he said, noting that the request would enable DOD to pursue a comprehensive strategy to end the threat ISIS poses to the United States.


At the Pentagon March 16, senior defense officials briefed reporters on the on the fiscal 2017 budget amendment. The speakers were John P. Roth, performing the duties of undersecretary of defense (comptroller), and Army Lt. Gen. Anthony R. Ierardi, director of force structure, resources and assessment on the Joint Staff.

“Our request to Congress is that they pass a full-year defense appropriations bill,” and that the bill includes the additional $30 billion, Roth said. “We are now approaching the end of our sixth month under a continuing resolution,” he added, “one of the longest periods that we have ever been under a continuing resolution.”

Under a continuing resolution, the department has to operate under a fiscal 2016 mandate, creating a large mismatch between operations funds and procurement funds, Roth explained. The department can’t spend procurement dollars because there’s a restriction on new starts and on increasing production, he said, “but we have crying needs in terms of training, readiness, maintenance ... and in the operation and maintenance account.”

The continuing resolution expires April 28, “so before then, we would want a full appropriation and, of course, a full appropriation with this additional $30 billion,” he said.


Roth said much of the money in the fiscal 2017 request is funding for operations and maintenance.

“We’re asking for additional equipment maintenance funding, additional facilities maintenance, spare parts, additional training events, peacetime flying hours, ship operations, munitions and those kinds of things,” he told reporters. “This is the essence of what keeps this department running on a day-to-day basis. “It keeps us up and allows us to get ready for whatever the next challenge is.”

The officials said full support from Congress is key to improving warfighter readiness, providing the most capable modern force, and increasing the 2011 Budget Control Act funding cap for defense.

Army is hiring: Army increases end strength by 28,000 Soldiers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Army will add 28,000 soldiers to its ranks by Sept. 30, 2017, officials announced March 20. The troop increase was directed by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017.

"The Army is hiring. The added end strength will allow the Army to increase manning in its tactical units, enhancing overall readiness," said Maj. Gen. Jason T. Evans, Director, Military Personnel Management. "The increased manning also provides additional promotion opportunities and retention incentives for our existing Soldiers and more opportunities for those who are fit, resilient and possess character who want to join the Army."

Across the force, the active component end-strength authorization increased by 16,000 to 476,000; the Army National Guard increased by 8,000 to 343,000, and the Army Reserve increased by 4,000 to 199,000. This 28,000 increase means the total Army will number 1,018,000 Soldiers.

The Army will conduct a responsible increase with a focus on quality; Soldiers who are resilient, fit and have character. The Army will use a variety of personnel management tools to meet the troop strength requirement, including enlisted accessions, recruitment, training, and retention along with officer accessions and retention. For example, the Army will raise its enlisted accessions mission to 68,500, an increase of 6,000 soldiers in the Active Component from the original mission through FY 17. Additionally, the Army will increase the enlisted retention mission to 17,500, an increase of 9,000 Soldiers in the Active Component from the original mission through FY 17.

With respect to officers, the Army will create additional accession and retention opportunities to increase officer strength by 1,000. And the Army will continue to leverage internal controls to increase retention of quality officers.

The increased manning of the Army will enable it to better meet the challenges of an ever-uncertain security environment, Evans said.

"We see a strong Army as a key factor in maintaining the security of the nation," he said.

ROTC grad shadows TACOM CG

On December 2nd Lt. Becca Rosenblatt was recruiting Army officers at Michigan State University, her alma mater. Nearly three months later she was shadowing the commanding general of TACOM Life Cycle Management Command – Army Materiel Command’s largest unit – to see what the Army is like outside of ROTC.
Maj. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters Jr., TACOM’s CG and a former ordnance officer, met Rosenblatt, a future ordnance officer, at MSU in November when he was there for a series of meetings. Knowing that the two had Army ordnance in common, her professor of military science arranged for them to meet. It was then that LeMasters invited her to spend a day with him at TACOM, which she did March 6.
Rosenblatt, who was commissioned upon her graduation from MSU in December, began the Army’s four-month Basic Officer Leader Course in Virginia shortly after shadowing LeMasters. The course is designed to produce Army officers with leadership skills, small unit tactics and basic branch capabilities – ordnance, in her case.
Their first meeting at MSU lasted about 20 minutes and focused on the duties of an ordnance officer. At TACOM, she sat in on some of LeMasters’ meetings and experienced “a day in the life” at the command. “I saw some of the technical meetings, as well as a leadership briefing, which I found very beneficial,” she said.
The lieutenant, who majored in biomedical laboratory sciences, said she gained a new perspective regarding her future career as an Army officer and leader.
“I learned basic information about ordnance as a branch as well as how it pertains to logistics, specifically TACOM,” said the West Bloomfield, Michigan, native. “Additionally, I gained knowledge on the multitude and complexity of TACOM itself and how it correlates with different aspects of the military, and that TACOM is there to be a driving force in the sustainment and capabilities of the Army. It was very interesting to see how much attention to detail there is, and how one small decision can affect the entire Army.”
In addition to everything she observed, Rosenblatt said LeMasters shared his leadership philosophy.
“One of the main points that stuck with me was, ‘Create the environment you strive for from the moment you walk in.’ This influenced me because from the moment I meet my future soldiers, I must create the expectations I want to set for my time with them,” she said.
The CG also said, “Don’t worry about if you are going to war, worry about your Soldiers.” Rosenblatt said, “Hearing this made me realize that, yes, the big picture is winning the war; however, you cannot win the battle without having a strong team. As a team, you must build and work together, and ensure that everyone is meeting expectations and standards before you can focus on the big picture.”
The general’s time management skills didn’t escape her, either.
“I learned that you must be able to time manage and develop a plan,” she said. “The CG has a constantly busy schedule and each meeting pertains to something else. Being able to think on your feet and plan is a crucial aspect in having a successful career.”
She also learned about being a people person. “As we walked in the halls of TACOM he would acknowledge everyone that he walked by,” she noted.
“I truly appreciated the opportunity and will forever remember it throughout my Army career,” she concluded. 

WIAMan program celebrates milestone

(Editor’s note: Read about how the Army’s Occupant Protection Laboratory, aligned under the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, uses ATDs to help mitigate blast injuries at: http://www.tacomlcmccommunityreport.com/features/3.17featurecrash.aspx
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The U.S. Army Research Laboratory and its partners at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab held a ceremony Feb. 22 to celebrate a milestone in the Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin, or WIAMan program, with the completion of the biofidelity testing series. About 50 people attended the Laurel, Maryland, event.

The purpose of the WIAMan program is to create a “biofidelic, warrior-representative, injury assessment surrogate,” otherwise known as a crash test dummy in the automotive world. Army researchers and their academic and industry partners are developing a dummy – based on human response data – that is capable of predicting specific injury risk to occupants in a vehicle during live-fire tests. Injury biomechanics is an engineering discipline to study the mechanisms and tolerances of injury to aid in vehicle design, such as military vehicles.

The ceremony commemorated the end of the biofidelity testing. This first phase of the program was conducted to determine how the human body acts under vertical forces. The team wanted to ensure the anthropomorphic test device, or ATD, response is the same as a human response. The current ATD (Hybrid III, made for the auto industry) is not biofidelic for underbody blast loading, which means it does not have the same response a human would have in vertical loading conditions. Phase 2, which includes the injury biomechanics research, is about 10 percent complete. The final injury assessment capability is expected to be complete in fiscal 2020.

“The BRC [biofidelity response corridor] testing was a massive undertaking that comprised of hundreds of tests with seven of our university partners over a three-year timeframe. Johns Hopkins are great partners in this endeavor and we couldn’t do it without you. This is the largest biomechanical effort in the world -- this has never been done before for underbody blast,” said Fred Hughes, ARL’s WIAMan director, who indicated this milestone is a critical component of the WIAMan capability to access injury for Soldiers.

Hughes, who is a former Soldier, spoke about the importance of this research for every service member on the battlefield.

“This is a big deal -- everyone should be proud of this! Our customer is the U.S. Army Soldier-- we are supporting the finest fighting Soldier in the world,” he said.

Andrew Merkle, APL’s former biomechanics product team lead, thanked ARL and expressed his gratitude to the university teams and the principal investigators for their commitment to the mission and for understanding the needs of the product.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Dr. Philip Perconti, ARL’s acting-director was presented a framed sample of some of the final biofidelity response corridors. In addition to the BRCs, Dr. Perconti and other key members of the team were presented a commemorative coin designed by APL.

Perconti said he was motivated by the event and said no one can speak about service issues as well as to someone who has served – thanking Hughes for his commitment.

“This is a remarkable success – you helped move the entire community to the left. I applaud everyone at ARL, APL and the universities – all individual contributions will ultimately safe lives,” Perconti said.

New Soldier armor weighs less with more options

WASHINGTON – The average Generation II Improved Outer Tactical Vest weighs about 26 pounds. But the new “Torso and Extremity Protection System” or TEP, under development now at Program Executive Office Soldier, sheds about five pounds of weight and also adds a wide degree of scalability that commanders can make use of depending on threat level and mission.
The TEP is part of the new “Soldier Protection System” under development now at PEO Soldier. The SPS includes both the TEP and the Integrated Head Protection System.
The TEP can replace the IOTV, at less weight and greater scalability, depending on the mission. It includes the “Modular Scalable Vest,” the “Ballistic Combat Shirt,” the “Blast Pelvic Protection System,” and a “Battle Belt,” which is aimed at getting weight off a Soldier’s shoulders and onto the hips.
With the TEP, commanders can require Soldiers to go with full protection – which provides the same level of protection as a fully-loaded IOTV – or go all the way down to wearing soft armor under their uniforms for missions that require less protection.
“It’s about giving commanders on the battlefield the ability to use the modularity capability of the equipment to fit their particular mission profile or protective posture level,” said Lt. Col. Kathy Brown, the product manager for Personal Protective Equipment at PEO Soldier, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
The IOTV sometimes required Soldiers to wear the Deltoid Auxiliary Protection – cumbersome parts that snapped on to the IOTV and protected their shoulders. Soldiers might have also been asked to wear the smaller, easily lost collars that also snapped on to the IOTV. Both are gone with the TEP. They’ve been replaced by the Ballistic Combat Shirt, which is a shirt with breathable fabric and also includes those smaller ballistic protection parts built in. Soldiers would wear the BCS under the TEP’s Modular Scalable Vest.
“We have tested it,” Brown said of the Ballistic Combat Shirt. “Soldiers like it. There is 95 percent Soldier acceptability of it. What we are working on now is tweaking the sizes.”
The TEP also includes the Blast Pelvic Protection System, which is designed to protect a Soldier’s thighs and groin against ballistic threats and burns. The BPPS is meant to replace the current combination of the pelvic undergarment and the pelvic outer-garment, or “PUG” and “POG.” The PUG has been referred to as “ballistic underwear.”
Brown said the BPPS “provides the same level of protection” as the PUG and POG combined, including both burn and fragment protection. She said Soldiers have reported that it feels more like it is “part of the pants.”
The “Battle Belt” included with the TEP is part of a weight management system, but it also offers some protection as well.
“It’s designed to remove the weight from your shoulders and put it on your hips,” Brown said. Whereas Soldiers might strap a radio or other gear onto their IOTV in the past, the Battle Belt can now take that gear and move the weight onto a Soldier’s hips.
Brown said that after successful ballistic testing, production of the TEP will probably begin in May of this year, and that Soldiers could see it in 2018 or 2019.
Another part of the Soldier Protection System is the Integrated Head Protection System, or IHPS. In its full configuration, it looks similar to a motorcycle helmet.
The IHPS consists of a base helmet, similar to the polyethylene “Enhanced Combat Helmet” that some Soldiers are already wearing. The IHPS also includes add-ons for the base helmet, including a visor, a “mandible” portion that protects the lower jaw, and a “Ballistic Applique” that is much like a protective layer that attaches over the base helmet. The complete ensemble is known as the “high threat configuration.”
Brown said that eventually all deploying Soldiers will get the IHPS with the base helmet, which is the standard configuration. Other Soldiers, vehicle gunners in particular, will also get the mandible portion and the ballistic applique as well, known as the turret configuration.
The IHPS currently has a Picatinny rail mounted on the side for attaching gear, and will also provide for attaching head-mounted night vision goggles.
The visor portion on the IHPS provides ballistic protection to a Soldier’s face, but doesn’t provide any protection against the sun. So Soldiers wearing it will need to wear darkened sunglasses underneath the visor if they are in bright environments.
Maj. Jaun F. Carleton, also with PEO Solider, had a pair of new sunglasses that are authorized for use by Soldiers if they want to buy them, or if their commanders buy them for them.
The sunglasses, which also come in a face mask version as well, start off as un-darkened – offering no protection against the sun. But with the press of a button, LCD modules that adhere to the lenses darken and provide protection against the sun. That happens in less than a second.
“The benefit is that using one pair of protective eyewear, you wouldn’t have to switch from a clear goggle to a dark goggle – you’d have one protective eyewear for all conditions,” Carleton said.
Brown said the goggles will be available for units to be able to requisition as part of the Soldier Protection System.
“If we are able to drive the price down, the Army could eventually make a decision to include that on the list of items that we carry for deploying Soldiers,” Brown said.
Brown said the IHPS will likely be available to deploying Soldiers sometime between 2020 and 2021.
As part of extensive human factors evaluations, Brown said that PEO Soldier has used Soldiers, extensively, to evaluate the new gear.
“We had a massive scale of Soldiers to evaluate the equipment, usually over a three-week to month-long timeframe, where they would perform their different mission sets, where they will execute basic rifle marksmanship, and ruck marches,” she said.
Afterward, she said, those same Soldiers were asked what they think of the gear through a qualitative evaluation methodology (Soldier survey).
“They would give us the good, the bad, the ugly,” Brown said. “It’s extremely important to get Soldiers’ input. First, Soldiers are brutally honest and they are going to tell you exactly how they feel about the equipment. Second, why buy equipment Soldiers won’t wear? And third, who’s better to give us the best answer about how the kit should be designed than the Soldier who will actually wear the equipment?”

‘Mad scientists’ discuss emerging tech as Army releases strategy on robots

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – Swarms of robots scouring enemy terrain ahead of ground troops outfitted in high-tech exoskeleton suits are among the many ideas proposed in the Army’s new strategy on robotic and autonomous systems.
In the not too distant future, Army leaders believe, war will be far more complex, calling upon Soldiers to engage enemies in multiple domains simultaneously. The 30-page strategy, which was released March 8, outlines five objectives to guide the technology that will ensure those Soldiers can survive and succeed in such an environment.
Whether the emerging technologies in question are operated by humans or entirely autonomous, the strategy’s purpose is to consider how they will translate into real-world capabilities like increasing a Soldier’s situational awareness, lightening physical and cognitive workloads, sustaining forces, facilitating movement and protecting Soldiers.
“As we look at our increasingly complex world, there’s no doubt that robotics, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence will play a role,” said Lt. Gen. Kevin Mangum, the deputy commander for Army Training and Doctrine Command. “We in the Army, and particularly at [TRADOC], need to get our arms around what’s in the realm of the possible.”
Speaking at TRADOC’s Mad Scientist conference on robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomy, Mangum said Tuesday he hoped to learn more from industry partners and those in the scientific community about how the Army might fight in the future.
With the increasing sophistication of cyber and unmanned systems along with the expectation that fighting in the future will occur more often in densely populated urban areas, the Army has been refining its multi-domain battle concept after officially rolling it out in October.
“We feel that we’re going to be contested in every domain,” Mangum said at the conference, which is intended to spark dialogue on technology innovation between the military, academia and industry. “That’s why this session is so timely to talk about what the challenges and, more importantly, what the opportunities are for us to be able to operate in that space.”
The battlefield of the future is closer than some may think. According to the strategy, the Army envisions that, by 2025, ground troops will conduct foot patrols in with robots called “squad multipurpose equipment transport vehicles” that carry rucksacks and other equipment. Overhead, unmanned aircraft will serve as spotters to warn troops of nearby enemy forces.
In the coming years, with commercial research and investments in science and technology, the Army may see even more science fiction-type technology, with the strategy predicting autonomous systems being fully integrated into the force by 2040.
Another idea the Army is considering is a “warrior suit” that Soldiers can wear in combat, an exoskeleton equipped with computerized technology that can provide intelligence updates as well as integrate indirect and direct-fire weapons systems.
Small robots could also be used for reconnaissance to increase situational awareness, while unmanned aerial systems deliver cargo to improve sustainment and reduce the reliance on manned rotary-wing support, the strategy notes.
But the Army will also need to invest in robust communications and network systems that allow autonomous systems to talk to each other.
“This is not just about robots, it’s about a lot of other things,” said Augustus Fountain, deputy chief scientist for the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army. “We need to think about autonomy as a much more holistic view and fashion.”
Coding and new algorithms also lack funding, and although they may not be “very sexy” they are still required to make robots move. “You can have the slickest platform in the world, but if you don’t have the right algorithms, it’s not going to work,” Fountain said, speaking at the Mad Scientist event.
The two-day conference, he added, should help Army scientists gain more insight from other experts on the potential impacts and capabilities of new technology.
“Scientists are great at developing technology, but sometimes we need the assistance of a larger community to understand what those second and third order impacts are,” he said. “We need your help in envisioning the role of robotics and artificial intelligence in the future.”
A major component of incorporating the new technology will be software, said Robert Sadowski, a chief roboticist at the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC.
“What I really want to be able to do is build the app store for robots and autonomous systems,” he said.
Such an app store, he noted, could deliver software updates into the hands of Soldiers much quicker. The store would be based on the Robotic Operating System, a collection of software frameworks for robot software development.
No matter how much technology evolves, there will always be room for Soldiers, he said. Leader-follower vehicles that the Army is currently testing to conduct autonomous convoys, for example, would still need troops to keep them out of enemy hands.
“We’re not going to do these things totally autonomously,” Sadowski said. “We’re always going to have Soldiers involved in the process. You don’t put treasure on the road without some sort of security.”
Humans would also remain in charge of any lethality decision behind other autonomous systems operating in combat. “We’re not going to have unmanned Terminator robots roaming around on the battlefield,” he said.

Whicker appointed to lead U.S. Army TACOM’s logistics center

Officials with the Department of the Army Senior Executive Talent Management Program appointed Marion G. Whicker as the acting executive director of the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command’s Integrated Logistics Support Center. The post was effective Feb. 19.

The ILSC manages a large part of the Army’s investment in war fighting capacity, integrating nearly 3,000 weapon systems forming the core of Army readiness. The ILSC’s approximately 3,500 active-duty Soldiers and Army civilians are charged with complete cycle support of aircraft armament, small arms, field artillery, mortars, tools and training systems, tactical vehicles, light and heavy combat vehicles, watercraft, Soldier biological and chemical systems, and deployment support equipment.

“In this position, Ms. Whicker will oversee the readiness of the majority of Army maintenance, fielding, new equipment training, supply chain management, and systems readiness. She has the full confidence and support of the TACOM commanding general and myself, and we look forward to what will most certainly be her positive contributions to the command,” said Brian Butler, TACOM’s deputy to the commanding general.

Prior to this appointment, Whicker served as the command’s deputy chief of staff since March 2015. A career Army civilian since 1984, she has held numerous supply chain, fleet planning, project management, asset management, fielding and training leadership, and fiscal planning roles of increasing responsibility. She is regarded as one of the Army’s premier logisticians.

A member of the Army Acquisition Corps, she holds the Army’s highest certification in life cycle logistics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Iowa Wesleyan College and a master’s of science in administration (leadership) from Central Michigan University.

This month in history

ATAC’s Bettie Yancey among ‘‘Top Ten”

Editor’s note: The following article is part of a series of stories and graphics reprinted from TACOM or ATAC (Army Tank Automotive Center, TACOM’s predecessor) newsletters in 1967 in honor of the command’s 50th anniversary. The terms “ATAC” and “TACOM” are interchangeable throughout this series. This story ran in the March issue of "The Detroit Arsenal News."
Two weeks ago tonight, 2,000 men and women from all walks of life accorded a standing ovation to one of ATAC’s own – Mrs. Bettie Yancey.
Mrs. Yancey had just been presented as one of Detroit’s Ten Outstanding Women Who Work to the audience of the annual banquet in Cobo Hall saluting working women.
First to their feet in the spontaneous accolade to Mrs. Yancey were: Emil Mazey, Secretary-Treasurer of the United Automobile Workers International Union; Mrs. Jerome P. Cavanagh, wife of Detroit Mayor Cavanagh; and Walker Cisler, Chairman of the Board of Detroit Edison Co.
Earlier in the day at a luncheon of the Women’s Economic Club of Detroit, Dwight Havens, President of the Greater Detroit Board of Commerce, singled out Mrs. Yancey as an “inspiration to all of us.”
It was the first time in the 12 years that the “Ten Outstanding Women Who Work” program has been sponsored in Detroit by the Central Business District Association that one person has been accorded special attention.
But, then, Mrs. Bettie Yancey is special.
A petite, 38-year-old mother of six, she has just completed a six-month course of training as a computer programmer.
This is not a particularly outstanding fete – except that Mrs. Yancey is blind. She lost her sight as a child of five.
The feeling that Mrs. Yancey was something special probably was strongest among the ladies who had been selected along with her as “Outstanding Women.” Included in the group were Mrs. Pauline Margaret Beutel, director, Carl Beutel Piano School; Dr. Juanita Collier, associate professor, Wayne State University; Mrs. Caroline Davis, United Automobile Workers, Women’s department director; Mrs. Mae Derdarian, director of public relations and education, United Community Services; and Mrs. Dorothy C. Hope, director of placement and alumni relations, Oakland University.
Others were Mrs. R.I. Jervis Jones, vice president, Hausman Corp.; Mrs. Rosemary H. Klug, chief of the women’s division, Detroit Police Department; Mrs. Mary Louise DeMarco McLeod, president of the National Association of Women Lawyers; and Dr. Alice E. Palmer, dermatologist and consultant to the U.S. government for the Far East.
Although thrilled at the honor, describing herself as “in orbit,” Mrs. Yancey does not regard her qualification as a computer programmer trainee at ATAC as unique. To her, it is just another rung up the ladder which she has been conquering step-by-step since she entered the North Carolina School for the blind 33 years ago.
Friends at ATAC anticipated her graduation from the training center as a matter of course. In her 10 years at ATAC, they have come to expect Mrs. Yancey to compete even-Steven for the goals and rewards of life.
In nominating Mrs. Yancey for recognition as one of the “Outstanding Women Who Work” in Detroit, Maj. Gen. William W. Lapsley, commanding general of ATAC, wrote: “I believe Mrs. Yancey’s performance is an inspiration to more than just her fellow women workers. It is a worthy example for every man and woman who desires to achieve his full potential and at the same time give his employer something more than a routine job.”
Mrs. Yancey started as a GS-2 clerk-typist at ATAC in 1958. By quality performance, she won promotions twice and then in 1963 was assigned as a GS-6 Closed Microphone Reporter on the basis of her score in a competitive exam.
Then 1965, she wrote a note which changed her whole career and, at the same time, gave new employment opportunities to other blind persons in Metropolitan Detroit. A training center had successfully qualified blind persons as computer programmers, she wrote the personnel office, and asked for a chance to obtain such training. A Civilian Personnel Office recruiting specialist visited the center and found it graduating top level programmers. Mrs. Yancey was given a test to qualify as a trainee – and failed. Brushing up on math and logic, she again took the test and passed. Ironically, however, the first blind programmer had been hired by ATAC – a man interviewed during the initial visit to the training center.
The training center is now located at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. It is financed by a grant from the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Mrs. Yancey was educated at the North Carolina School for the Blind, attending courses there for 14 years to obtain a high school diploma and two years of college-level credits. After moving to Detroit, she completed two years of instruction at Commerce Business School of Detroit.
Despite an IQ rated above that required to enter the Army’s Officers Candidate Schools, she had trouble early in the training program. Dr. Theodor (cq) Sterling, Director of the training center, said that it took a “truly great effort by her because of her lack of background and academic preparation, but she will become more than just a competent programmer.”
As a sidelight, Mrs. Yancey is also her own homemaker. She did all of her housework and cooking until her children were old enough to help. At St. Louis, she has maintained her own apartment and traveled to-and-from classes unassisted.
General Lapsley wrote of her: “Many women in today’s society must play three parts, those of housewife, mother and worker. Mrs. Yancey is a ‘star’ in all of these roles.”
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