In today’s post, I would like to talk about the role of the Maintenance Control Officer in the Army National Guard. The Maintenance Control Officer, frequently referred to as the Shop Officer is a fun, challenging and very important job. In fact, the best job I ever had (other than Company Command) was my time as the Shop Officer.
What is a Maintenance Control Officer?
In the ARNG, the Maintenance Control Officer is responsible for leading the Maintenance Program in the Forward Support Company. In most cases, the FSC supports some type of maneuver battalion, such as an Infantry, Armor or Field Artillery Battalion. The Shop Officer oversees the field support maintenance for all the equipment in that battalion. Any equipment the units can’t fix gets sent to the Maintenance Control Section.
This normally applies during Annual Training and drill weekend. At all other times, equipment is fixed by the FMS or CSMS Shop. The Shop Officer works with the Maintenance Control Sergeant, a Maintenance Control Technician (Warrant Officer) and a team of 10-40 mechanics. The Shop Officer processes jobs, assigns priorities, ensures the parts are ordered, supervises the mechanics and makes sure the equipment gets fixed on time and to standard. They also brief their Company Commander and Battalion Commander on the status of the equipment.
In most cases, the Shop Officer is an experienced/senior First Lieutenant assigned to the Ordnance Corps. Transportation and Quartermaster Corps Lieutenants can also do the job.
Duties of the Maintenance Control Officer:
Listed below are the primary duties of the Shop Officer.
- Advise the FSC and Battalion Commander on the Field Maintenance Status of all equipment
- Senior Person at the Unit Maintenance Control Point
- Prioritize all Maintenance Jobs
- Responsible for the combat readiness of unit equipment
- Evaluate the quality of the maintenance by the maintenance platoon
- Ensure all maintenance personnel are trained and properly resourced
- Monitor the status of all Class IX parts
- Work with the FMS and CSMS Shops to track equipment that was evacuated
- Serve as the Company XO, in addition to Shop Officer duties
- Coordinate the recovery of the battalion’s equipment
- Provide input during the Battalion/Brigade Maintenance Meeting
I will be the first to admit that this job is much more difficult for Active Duty Army Officers. In the ARNG, most of the field level maintenance is done at the FMS Shop or CSMS Shop. That’s one of the reasons that the ARNG Shop Officer also serves as the Company Executive Officer. This would not happen on Active Duty, since the Shop Officer is always busy.
During my time as Shop Officer and Company XO, I probably spent 80% of my time working on my XO Duties and 20% on my Maintenance Duties. I didn’t think the XO job was more important. I just didn’t have a lot of Maintenance Jobs to oversee.
Tips for Success
If you are assigned as a Maintenance Control Officer in the ARNG, consider yourself lucky. This is a prestigious job normally reserved for the top Lieutenant in the unit. One of the best things I recommend you do is to spend some time educating yourself on your roles and responsibilities. Read books and regulations to know the ins and outs of what you are supposed to do. If possible, work closely with your Warrant Officer and NCO. Pick their brain and try to build a strong professional relationship with them. Also, spend some time getting to know the Shop Chief at the FMS Shop and CSMS Shop. Be proactive. Educate yourself about the SAMS-1, SARSS, FBCB2 and other STAMIS equipment, so you know how to operate the systems.
In summary, the Maintenance Control Officer job is fun, challenging, and fulfilling. It’s the second best job I ever had in the ARNG. As a part-time Soldier, your responsibilities will be much different than your Active Duty counterpart. You will also serve as the Company XO of the FSC, in addition to your Shop Officer responsibilities. My best advice to you is to (1) educate yourself about what you should be doing, (2) build a good relationship with your FMS and CSMS Shop Chief, (3) establish priorities and responsibilities with your team and (4) work closely with your Warrant Officer, NCO and mechanics. If you can do that, you will achieve success.
If you have served as a Maintenance Control Officer, tell us if you enjoyed, or still enjoy the position. If not, why? You can post comments or questions below. Thank you.