Offutt NCO shines during deployed IG inspection

  • Published
  • By G. A. Volb
  • HQ AFWA Public Affairs
In just a year, Joint Task Force-Bravo's C4IS went from a mediocre rating by the Southern Command's Inspector General Team to that of a first-rate program with zero discrepancies.

In fact, so good was the program managed that the inspector proclaimed equipment accountability as "the best program I have seen." C4IS is responsible for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Information Systems for Soto Cano and JTF-B. Better known as J-6, they relied heavily on the ability of Offutt Master Sgt. Billy Cowgill to streamline processes.

Cowgill, serving a four-month temporary duty assignment to Soto Cano, Honduras, headed up the methods used to inventory and control the C4IS' $800,000 worth of equipment, use of official telephones - both land-line and cellular - and the billing and services associated with each. It's a daunting task, according to J-6 Superintendent Senior Master Sgt. Ross Meilleur, and Cowgill excelled.

"He shaved $10,000 off the monthly cell phone bill in just under two months," said Meilleur. "In April, the cell phone bill was $18,000 and at the end of June it went down to $8,000. Soto Cano had been on pace to surpass its allocated budget, but he brought it back to normal."

The savings weren't easy given their primary mission of planning and executing C4IS support for joint, combined inter-agency, disaster relief operations and other contingencies throughout the Central America area of responsibility.

"His professionalism and dedication is among the very best I've seen in 25 years," said Meilleur. "In a situation where some do just enough to get by, he takes his responsibility personally, as if he were going to be here for years. In the case of the telecommunications' control and monitoring, he built the processes from the ground up, developed databases for control, and working metrics and tracking tools to determine where the money was being spent - and better ways to spend it."

"I like to challenge the status quo and ask questions," said Cowgill on his motivation. "If the answers aren't consistent with mission needs, then it's time for a change. I'm also a firm believer in 'everything starts from the top.' What I mean is J-6 leadership supported my initiatives, which makes them just as responsible for the success we encountered during the IG inspection."

"He also realigned some assets to get more bang for our buck," continued Meilleur. "Then he developed continuity plans and procedures so that these processes could be passed on to the next rotation. I have no doubt that no matter what the task is, whether in or out of his area of expertise, his performance would be exceptional."

"What I'm most proud of is the team I work with here at Soto Cano," emphasized Cowgill. "Prior to the IG inspection the new crew pulled together and took care of business ... in a short amount of time and challenging joint environment. We literally hit the ground running."

Cowgill also gave credit to his Honduran counterparts and local contractors at Harris Corp. "They really stepped up when it was time," he said. "When it's all said and done, it comes down to team work to make the difficult look easy."

Back at his home station, Cowgill serves as the Air Force Weather Agency's superintendent of communications plans and requirements.

"Sergeant Cowgill is the kind of senior NCO every organization on base would love to have," said Mr. Bradley Kassube, AFWA's deputy director of communications. "He has all the attributes of a well-rounded professional."