By Sgt. James Geelen | 4th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Designing and implementing a training initiative can be challenging, whether the purpose is to develop specific capabilities within the personnel or to support a full culture transformation. In the process, a person can invest significant time and resources into determining the training necessary to be successful.
Because of the pandemic, leaders across the Army have been working through different methods to ensure their Soldiers receive proper instructions to be successful.
One leader realized he was holding a powerful training tool in the palm of his hand.
“Every day I come across Soldiers who don’t fully understand the computer programs they must use to perform their jobs,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dennis J. Valora, battalion mechanical maintenance sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. “It’s not feasible to retrain every person as you encounter them. However, I love to teach Soldiers, and I knew the best way to reach a bigger audience is by utilizing social media. So I decided to create my own YouTube channel and start making instructional videos to pass along my knowledge.”
The first group of videos Valora created were to help people work with global combat support system (GCSS)-Army.
“I started by giving step by step instructions through the live GCSS system, how to track parts, print off paperwork, everything a motor sergeant should know,” Valora said. “I’m sharing power points, memorandums for record and my products to help teach maintenance managers how to operate their motor pools better. These are things that they should be doing and know, but many have never been trained properly.”
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Alexander Perez, automotive maintenance warrant officer, HHC, 68th CSSB, 4th SB, believes Valora is influencing the Army at all levels.
“He has found a way to reach an audience and diversify the knowledge regarding GCSS-Army,” Perez said. “He’s not just reaching the lower subordinate levels, but it’s the maintenance managers, supervisors and commanders as well. He’s opened up the arena for anyone who wants to learn and how to navigate through some of the common system issues.”
Valora’s 52 instructional videos have reached a wide audience.
“Brig. Gen. Michelle T. Letcher, chief of ordnance commandant, sent me a coin with a personal letter thanking me for taking the initiative to help train the force,” Valora said. “I have also been in contact with a variety of different Soldiers, from privates to sergeants first class and chief warrant officers from as far away as Korea.”
Perez believes the videos will have a lasting, major impact.
“Most of the time we don’t see all these issues internally, we hear about them once in a while,” Perez said. “Pertaining to the (GCSS)-Army and the maintenance aspect, these YouTube videos, are enabling the Soldiers to present their questions to everyone. This allows other personnel the chance to respond and present their methods and resolutions. It’s combining the joint logistics force and getting everyone to work together.”
Valora plans to keep passing his knowledge on for as long as possible.
“I don’t have that many more years left in the Army, I want to pass my knowledge and experience on to help the future generations,” Valora said. “Ideally, I would like to go to Fort Lee, (Virginia), to provide the incoming Soldiers with the proper tools to succeed.”