Capt. Gary Whittacre, left, and Lt. Nicholas Roth, both members of Headquarters and Supply Company, 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, reposition the "3ID Bench" in the Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith conference room at Task Force Marne Headquarters, Jan. 7, Camp Victory, Baghdad.
CAMP STRIKER, Iraq – Aviation Soldiers presented a handcrafted bench to their division commander at Baghdad International Airport Jan. 4, driven by a friendly spirit of competition.
Soldiers of Headquarters and Support Company, 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, presented the bench to Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of Multi-National Division - Center, at the Combat Aviation Brigade flight line.
Spcs. George Boldi, Dustin Bolgrihn, Christopher Clark and Ed Cornett, all members of HSC, designed and produced the bench they dubbed the “3ID Bench”. The idea first developed after Lynch was given a bench from the Soldiers of Company E, 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment.
“Having never seen the bench, my Soldiers began deliberating on how they could build the CG (commanding general) a better bench,” said Capt. Gary Whittacre, HSC 603rd ASB commander. “This discussion first started out as playful banter between mechanics here in the consolidated motor pool but after a few weeks my Soldiers became serious about wanting to build Maj. Gen. Lynch a bench.”
Materials were gathered over a three-month period with help from Master Sgt. David Skinner, HSC, 603rd ASB, who sent scrap materials from the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Center in Kuwait. Work began on constructing the bench in December, with hopes to present it to Lynch on Christmas day. Unaware of the presentation and due to other commitments, Lynch didn’t make it to the flight line for Christmas.
A visit was planned Jan. 4 for Lynch to meet with Soldiers in HSC, 603rd ASB and it was then the “3ID Bench” was presented.
“Prior to the unveiling I had related that we hoped this would be something Mrs. Lynch would be proud to display in the Lynch home; to which the CG stated that ‘we would see’,” Whittacre said. “After the unveiling Maj. Gen. Lynch related to everyone present how it’s not often that he is left speechless but this bench has left him speechless.”
Bolgrhin said the bench is perfect despite the fact that carpenter Cornett wasn’t completely satisfied.
“There is always room for improvement,” Cornett said. “I was glad (Lynch) was satisfied.”
“Whether the job is for an E1 or a two-star we put in the same amount of effort,” Bolgrhin said. “We try to make it as close to perfect every time.”
The "3ID Bench" will be on display in the Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith conference room at Task Force Marne Headquarters.