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NEWS | Oct. 9, 2023

I Own This: September 2023 Nominees

PS Magazine’s I Own This campaign recognizes Warfighters of all services who exemplify the highest standards of care for their assigned vehicles and equipment and contribute in meaningful ways to their unit's overall maintenance and supply posture. In short, they live and breathe readiness.
This month, we had eleven (11) Warfighters nominated for this program—the most ever since we started the program over three years ago.* All are deserving of this recognition. One was selected at random to get the spotlight placed on them. For Sep 2023, that individual is SFC Stephen Highet, 3-126th General Support Aviation BN, Massachusetts Army National Guard.

*Thanks to the NYARNG for its support of this program by sending out a tasking to its subordinate units to participate by nominating one of their own. As you'll see, the vast majority of this month's nominees are members of the NYARNG.
Spotlight Profile

SFC Stephen Highet, 3-126th General Support Aviation BN
SFC Stephen Highet 
(in orange construction hat)
3-126th General Support Aviation Battalion
Massachusetts Army National Guard
Maintenance NCOIC
Nominated by: CW3 Brennon Links

How did you come to know/observe the nominee's actions? As the maintenance test pilot for the 1-106th Assault Helicopter BN.

Why does this individual deserve recognition? SFC Highet has blended two maintenance sections together from two different battalions and created an efficient team that is keeping all the UH-60s at Camp Buehring flyable and safe, while executing multiple different mission sets. He also recently stood up a phase maintenance lane, which has greatly improved the brigade's combat power and phase flow.

Additional Comments: SFC Highet not only excels at taking care of Blackhawk helicopters, he also genuinely cares about every Soldier that works with him and for him. His dedication to his Soldiers and his craft has manifested into an outstanding operational readiness rate. [Direct input from SFC Highet’s commander: “In my nearly 10 years with the Army National Guard, I consider him the #1 sergeant first class I have served with. He brings a sense of mentorship and leadership that is revered by superiors and subordinates alike. He volunteered to deploy with us via tour of duty for Operation Inherent Resolve and stepped into a major role as our Maintenance Platoon Sergeant. There’s no better NCO I know of that has come into our organization; he has sincerely ‘Own(ed) This’ mission.”]
Also Nominated...
Warfighter's Name: SSG Melinda K Farnham
Branch of Service: New York Army National Guard
Unit: Forward Support Company, 204th Engineering Battalion
Position/Title: Maintenance Control Sergeant/Readiness
NSN or End Item Nominee Maintains: Wrecker
Nominated by: Tamara Hoffmanbelluci

Justification: SSG Farnham has always enforced rigorous PMCS before, during and after all company movements. She has always prioritized Soldiers training and emphasized the company’s safety policies. SSG Farnham has played a key role in maintaining high equipment readiness, ensuring mission success.

SSG Melinda Farnham, FSC 204th Engineering BN, NYARNG
SSG Farnham (left, operating the boom)

Warfighter's Name: SSG Tessa Fleming
Branch of Service: New York Army National Guard
Unit: 206th Military Police Company
Position/Title: Supply NCO
NSN or End Item Nominee Maintains: HMMWV and other tactical vehicles
Nominated by: SFC Nicholas Scialdone

Justification: SSG Fleming coordinates, processes, and tracks the movements, fieldlings and work orders on all rolling stock assigned to two separate locations. SSG Fleming not only manages all aspects of the company's tactical vehicles, but she also does all the tracking and processing for all equipment assigned to both the headquarters and detachment.
Warfighter's Name: Sgt. George A Lebrun
Branch of Service: New York Army National Guard
Unit: 105th Military Police Company
Position/Title: Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
NSN or End Item Nominee Maintains: M984A4 Wrecker
Nominated by: SFC Joseph M. Wright

Justification: SGT Lebrun is one of our senior mechanics and also our only qualified H8 certified wrecker operator. He coordinated and moved multiple vehicles for the company while attending Annual Training for FY23. His vast knowledge and care for the company’s assigned vehicles ensured (and ensures) mission success during movement operations.
Warfighter's Name: SFC William M Matteson
Branch of Service: New York Army National Guard
Unit: 1427th Medium Truck Company
Position/Title: Truck Platoon Sergeant
NSN or End Item Nominee Maintains: M1088 FMTV
Nominated by: 1st LT David Hansen

Justification: SFC Matteson actively takes a role in mentoring junior Soldiers throughout company. He also trained Soldiers to perform at Best Warrior Competitions. He is a trusted leader at the state's Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site. He embodies Be, Know, Do.

SFC William Matteson, 1427th Medium Truck CO., NYARNG
SFC Matteson

Warfighter's Name: SPC Nicholas Raponi
Branch of Service: New York Army National Guard
Unit: 222 Military Police Company, Rear Detachment
NSN or End Item Nominee Maintains: Multiple
Nominated by: 1st LT Hope Villandre

Justification: As the commander of the rear detachment, I’ve worked closely with SPC Raponi at drill and over annual training (AT). He has shown himself to be incredibly professional and hard working. Our AT was doing an AGWASH (agricultural wash) prior to our forward unit’s deployment. This mission required great attention to detail and knowledge of the vehicles cleaned. He took great care in preparing the vehicles so they would be serviceable for the deploying unit. He has also shown great leadership. As a specialist, he’s stepped into squad leader positions during drill. Many soldiers are in the rear detachment because of medical or behavioral issues. This is not the case with SPC Raponi. He is a hardworking and reliable professional, taking ownership and pride in his equipment and the equipment of his battle buddies.

Warfighter's Name: SPC Jose Rivera
Branch of Service: Active Army
Unit: 3-27th Field Artillery Regiment (HIMARS)
Position/Title: Command driver
NSN or End Item Nominee Maintains: M1165 HMMWV
Nominated by: 1st LT Benjamin Do

Justification: I am the HHB XO and every week during PMCS Monday, as well as throughout the week when it comes to services, I get an opportunity to see SPC Rivera working hard on multiple vehicles. He always goes by the TM, making him a great example for the newer Soldiers to emulate. He goes above and beyond to assist with all vehicles in HHB. He is a great team player/force multiplier, ensuring that vehicles get PMCSed correctly by the book. While also making sure that they are brought up to get serviced during the scheduled time. This is to make sure our fleet is as healthy as possible while serving in a deployed environment. SPC Rivera takes on this greater responsibility to better prepare him for his future role as an NCO. 
Warfighter's Name: SFC Javier Rodriguez
Branch of Service: New York Army National Guard
Unit: 107th Military Police Company
Position/Title: Motor Sergeant
NSN or End Item Nominee Maintains: HMMWV and other tactical vehicles
Nominated by: SFC Danicablanca Iglopas

Justification: SFC Rodriguez has 18 years of service in the NYARNG. He has been assigned with the 107th Military Police since March 2021. He is the superintendent of a large vehicle fleet. COVID-19 created a lull in missions and urgency of utilizing our rolling stock. However, when he came to the unit in 2021, his hands-on approach has led to several last-minute but successful missions. In July 2022, he had three weeks’ notice to get a fleet of 15 M1151A1s to mission capable status for a platoon of MPs to convoy to Ft. Drum, NY for pre-mobilization training. SFC Rodriguez also trailed the convoy to support the journey. For the 107th MP CO FY 2023 Annual Training, he supervised all repairs for the 10-vehicle convoy from Ft. Hamilton to Ft. Drum again. He was able to bring his expertise to the field, mentoring and training his mechanic section in making on-site repairs, cross training MPs and helping his sister companies in the MP Battalion in their fleet repairs. He has, without fail, trained his Soldiers to be tactically and technically proficient. In his short time in the 107th MP CO, he has led and motivated his Soldiers to get promoted and gain confidence in their jobs, which in turn has led them to volunteer for deployments and other real-world missions. SFC Rodriguez is also the CSMS-B Auto Repair Supervisor in Staten Island, NY. As a technician, he oversees seven NYARNG fleets. He supervises the repairs for all rolling stock for the 1-69th Infantry Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division, 133rd Composite Supply Company and the 145th Maintenance Company. His shop also supports the 14th Finance Detachment and the 369th Sustainment Brigade. Overall, he supervises the repairs and maintenance of a fleet of more than 1,500 vehicles. It's often heard from SFC Rodriguez, “We’re here to keep you guys in the fight!” and time and time again, he has.

SFC Javier Rodriguez, 107th MP CO, NYARNG '
SFC Rodriguez, second from right

Warfighter's Name: SGT Tenzin Tashi
Branch of Service: New York Army National Guard
Unit: 442nd Military Police Company, 104th MP BN
Position/Title: Senior Mechanic
NSN or End Item Nominee Maintains: Tactical Vehicle Fleet
Nominated by: CPT Keith Cohen

Justification: I am SGT Tashi's company commander and directly observed his actions and contributions to our unit over the course of the FY23 training year. At the start of the training year, the 442nd MP Company only had seven out 28 M1151s that were mission capable for training. He spearheaded a maintenance plan with his team of eight other mechanics and increased our mission capable M1151s to 18 in just three months. SGT Tashi's hard work enabled our unit to conduct collective mission essential task training in Q3 and Q4, as well as annual training, which greatly increased unit readiness. His dedication to duty and expertise greatly increased the entire company's readiness. Without his superior maintenance support, we would not have been able to conduct collective mission essential task training this year. By recognizing his accomplishment, we can reinforce the importance of sustainment in our unit and how vital our maintenance element is in achieving our overall organizational goals. SGT Tashi operated at the level of a sergeant first class, stepping into the senior mechanic’s position in their absence during the FY23 training year. 
Warfighter's Name: SPC Danielle Viera
Branch of Service: New York Army National Guard
Unit: 222nd Military Police Company, Rear Detachment
Position/Title: Vehicle Operator
NSN or End Item Nominee Maintains: Multiple
Nominated by: Hope Villandre

Justification: As the rear detachment commander, I have gotten to know SPC Viera through drills and annual training. Our annual training would have failed if not for SPC Viera. We were tasked to do an AGWASH (agriculture wash) for the forward-deployed unit. Out of the Soldiers on hand, only SPC Viera was licensed to drive multiple vehicles. Even though these were not her vehicles, she still showed the utmost care and precision in PMCSing each vehicle prior to driving it and helping to clean it. She was incredibly professional and had high morale the entire time. There were 77 pieces of equipment that needed to be cleaned, and 51 of them had to be driven by and cared for by SPC Viera. SPC Viera is highly motivated and professional. She is a great Soldier and teammate.  
Warfighter's Name: SGT Brendon Williams
Branch of Service: New York Army National Guard
Unit: 222nd Chemical Company
Position/Title: Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
NSN or End Item Nominee Maintains: HMMWV
Nominated by: SFC Ana Tavares
Justification: SGT Williams inherited duties and responsibilities far above his rank but completed all required tasks satisfactorily, keeping the unit operational. He is very knowledgeable, and his ability and experience has improved the unit's equipment readiness dramatically. He took initiative and performed all required duties in the absence of the company motor sergeant. He was responsible for the diagnosis, repair, disposition, movement and evacuation of all equipment requiring higher-level maintenance. SGT Williams is a hard-working Soldier and is very reliable.