FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 19, 2015) — Sgt. 1st Class Chad Corey recently received a monetary award for a suggestion he made nearly a year ago.
Money, however, was not the source of motivation pushing him to develop an improvement that could impact a large portion of the Army’s up-armored fleet of Humvees.
“It’s about the Soldier and making things better,” said the instructor assigned to the Basic Wheel Division, Wheel Maintenance Training Department of the Ordnance School. “It’s not only going to impact myself and the Soldiers we’re training here but once it gets implemented, it will impact every single mechanic, every single operator who touches that piece of equipment.”
Corey’s idea – submitted through CASCOM’s Supply and Maintenance Assessment and Review Team program – netted him an award of $500 and accolades by the Ordnance School leadership during an awards presentation Monday. It centers on damages to line connections of the hydro boost and engine oil cooler when mechanics or operators remove them during maintenance procedures. Over time, the parts would become worn and would need to be replaced. The quick disconnect part Corey developed protects the parts from damage, he said.
“It seemed like an easy fix,” he said of the idea submitted more than a year ago. “If it can make everyone’s life easier, save the Army tons of money instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on parts and equipment, it’s kind of a no-brainer.”
The cost of an oil cooler is more than $1,000, said Corey. His suggestion has resulted in the issue of retrograde kits for more than 50,000 vehicles to fix the problem, said Nathaniel Zachary, an equipment specialist with the U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command, responsible for evaluating Corey’s suggestion.
No information is available at this time on how much money the Army has saved as a result of the idea, added Zachary.
Sgt. Maj. Patricio Cardonavega, SGM, Wheel Maintenance Training Department, said it is a rare feat for maintenance Soldiers to generate time or money-saving ideas, considering the long hours spent performing their missions. Considerately, an accomplishment such as Cory’s is due more to individual character than anything else.
“I think his accomplishment speaks to who he is as an individual – an outstanding senior noncommissioned officer with the ability to anticipate and address issues that may affect mission accomplishment,” he said, recalling only two such ideas in his 25-year career. “He’s ‘that guy’ who will continue to impact the organization and will ensure it is a more successful and best-suited (to accomplish the mission).”
There are 175 NCOs instructors and administrators assigned to the Wheel Maintenance Training Department. It graduates roughly 4,000 students annually.
Corey’s idea is one of roughly 20 suggestions received on an annual basis, said Andra L. Howell, chief, Army SMART Program, Capabilities, Development and Integration Directorate, CASCOM.
Corey, who has been with the schoolhouse three years, said his idea was developed during advanced individual training sessions through observation and hands-on experiences.
“At some point,” he said, “you think there’s got to be an easier way to do this. I just took an afternoon and started playing around with some parts and, the next thing you know, we had it working.”
He added it is quite satisfying to know suggestions can be far-reaching.
“It feels pretty good,” he said. “There are others who have noticed and you can see how it has kind of impacted them. They are coming up with creative ideas and ways to implement and develop things. That’s a good feeling right there – to know you can have that kind of positive effect on other people.”
Corey has 17 years of service and is due to end his tenure as an instructor in the near future.
Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Chad Corey, an instructor assigned to the Basic Wheel Division, Wheel Maintenance Training Department, Ordnance School, stands near a Humvee in the bay area of Stever Hall on the Ordnance Campus. Corey submitted an idea through the Supply and Maintenance Assessment and Review Team Program that could save the Army thousands of dollars in parts replacement costs for the vehicle and others. He was recognized for his suggestion by the Ordnance School leadership Nov. 16 during an awards presentation. (U.S. Army photo by T. Anthony Bell)