Supply Sergeant: Year of the NCO
Story and Photos by Sgt. John D. Ortiz
4th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — For a majority of individuals, a million dollars is enough to retire and live comfortably for the rest their lives, yet for a supply sergeant, a million dollars is nothing to worry about.
For the Wichita, Kan., native and Alpha Company supply sergeant Staff Sgt. Gabriel L. Hamilton, being in charge of eight million dollars is still nothing to think twice about.
“There is a lot of work involved,” says Hamilton based out of Fort Hood, Texas, “but its being able to show my skills as a supply NCO to help the commander and make sure everything is accounted for keeping from Soldiers from being charged for equipment.”
Ever since he was private first class, running a supply room has been second nature to Hamilton, enough that he was runner up for the supply excellence award in 2005 and won a category in 2006.
“In the eight years that I have been in supply, I have been a unit armorer, a supply clerk and a supply sergeant. I had to learn quickly as a private first class, because it was either sink or swim and an early lesson in accountability.”
For both Soldiers and commanders, education is a big part of the job for the supply sergeant.
“I make sure the commander understands hand receipt procedures and how to properly inventory equipment using the appropriate technical manual, along with ensuring that all equipment is hand receipted down to the lowest level,” said Hamilton.
During a commander’s inventory, there is definitely a moment when the supply system can seem like a dark and challenging road, yet the commander can always look to him as a beacon of hope, said Hamilton.
“I point officers in the right direction when they have questions and help them navigate the system. As a NCO, we help guide, teach and mentor officers through hands-on education and training,” he said.
The supply sergeant is a unique position within the company, because they answer directly to the commander.
“Supply is the one thing that I’m in charge of,” said Hamilton. “I hold the commander’s pocket book worth over eight million dollars.”
A commander will always say one of their secrets to success was ‘the best supply sergeant I ever had.’
Hamilton keeps the company on track and well equipped per the commander’s orders. “Let me do my job and have faith in the supply system because I ensure all shortages are ordered, all it takes is a face-to-face meeting.”
Along with helping a commander navigate the often confusing world of Army supply, a supply sergeant is many things, but the most important is that he is an NCO first and always.
“As an NCO, I have to care for Soldiers,” says Hamilton. “If you take care of Soldiers, they will take care of the mission, and if they take care of the mission, they take care of you.
“As a sergeant, I help guide Soldiers toward promotions along with working, teaching and showing my experience as part of the team.”
A sergeant will never stop teaching seniors, peers, or subordinates, because they will never stop learning.
“I need to stay on top of my game because I have to be technically proficient in my job,” he said. “I can’t use the excuse I don’t know. I need to find out, do research, and learn.”
It’s easy to figure out if I’ve done my job,” said Hamilton. “If all of the unit’s equipment is accounted for and no one has to pay for any equipment means a job well done.”
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — Staff Sgt. Gabriel L. Hamilton, a native of Wichita, Kansas helps new company commander Capt. Faith Lee during a comprehensive commander's inventory. Hamilton has been in supply for eight years and holds the company commander's pocket book worth more than eight million dollars. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. John D. Ortiz)