Filling a gap with excellence

14 June 2024

When an unexpected staff shortage left 7th Signal Regiment workshops without an artificer sergeant major (ASM) in June 2022, Sergeant Leighton Wilson was the only one capable of filling the position.

With a small crew and a significant backlog of work, Sergeant Wilson took over the workshop to ensure the unit’s fleet of protected mobility electronic warfare vehicles were kept running.

By using part-time soldiers to supplement the full-time tradesmen, the team cut their backlog in half over six months, with Sergeant Wilson floating between administration and on the tools to help out.

“I was doing corporal through to ASM jobs, just trying to get as much production out of a very small crew, but trying not to burn them out,” Sergeant Wilson said.

“I’d decided to take on most of the burden myself, and protect the workshop members. To put it into perspective, I was coming to work and going home in the dark.”

Sergeant Wilson also leveraged support from the local Capability Sustainment and Acquisition Group workshop, as well as Thales, to assist with the workload. 

During this period, a significant maintenance issue was identified on the protected mobility electronic warfare vehicles’ ancillary power units.

After some investigation, Sergeant Wilson was approved to run trials and recommended changing the maintenance regime. 

Sergeant Wilson remained in the position until the end of 2022, when a new artificer sergeant major and platoon commander marched into the unit.

“It was a good experience. I'm someone who likes to work, and being given a bit of free rein by the CO (Commanding Officer) to run the workshop and do what needed to be done was quite good,” he said.

For his efforts, Sergeant Wilson was awarded a Conspicuous Service Medal as part of the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours.

Although he felt he was only doing his job and wasn’t expecting a nomination, Sergeant Wilson said it was good to be recognised.

“It's impressed a few people, to do the job to the standard that we did and achieve all the required maintenance we needed to for the year and with no real hiccups,” he said. 

“You often feel like you go around the same old tree over and over again, and no one seems to notice. But when you get the recognition, it is quite a proud moment.”



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