Born in Detroit, Michigan, on April 3, 1954, Robert J. (Joe) Wurm enlisted in the Army in 1971. He served in Germany as a wheel vehicle mechanic and was quickly promoted to sergeant and shop foreman. In 1975, he returned to the United States and completed the tank turret repairman course as honor graduate. He was appointed a warrant officer in 1978, following a tour as a company motor sergeant at Fort Lewis, Washington.
Returning to Germany, Wurm commanded a direct support maintenance detachment that supported more than 600 pieces of transportation and engineer equipment. Next, he was assigned to Fort Ord and served as maintenance technician for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 7th Infantry Division Artillery; and then as maintenance technician for the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery, where his maintenance program won the division's Maintenance Excellence Award in the light, medium, and heavy categories and placed high in the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) competition. In the middle of his tour at Fort Ord, he was sent on temporary duty as the first maintenance technician for the multinational force and observers in the Sinai, where he supervised an international team of 36 personnel maintaining 300 vehicles and pieces of equipment.
In 1986, Wurm completed the Army Inspector General course and served as Chief of the 21st Theater Army Support Command inspection team in Germany, conducting general, special, and follow-up inspections of three brigade and 12 battalion-level commands. Then, in 1989, he returned to Fort Ord to serve as the 7th Infantry Division's senior automotive maintenance technician, coordinating the procedures for the turn-in of the division's equipment pending inactivation. In the midst of this process, he was selected by name to deploy for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm to assist in establishing a theater maintenance support infrastructure.
From 1993 to 1997, Wurm served as the senior warrant officer in the Installation Management Office at Fort Hood. In this assignment, he gained approval of over 160 requests for special repair authority to perform depot-level repairs at his maintenance facility. He also screened Defense Reutilization Marketing Offices for serviceable or reparable parts and assemblies, saving FORSCOM hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 1997, he became Chief of the Warrant Officer Professional Development Division at the US Army Ordnance Center and School. He revamped the warrant officer basic and advanced courses, upgraded the school's computer labs, and optimized diagnostics training. He also served as the Ordnance Regimental Warrant Officer for several months.
CW5 Wurm retired in 2000 after 30 years of distinguished service. He is currently employed as a Logistics Management Specialist in the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA) at Aberdeen Proving Ground and is actively involved in assessing unit repair cycle times in support of the Army's Velocity Management Program as well as the Field Exercise Data Collection and Sample Data Collection Programs which provide essential data to support manpower and maintenance requirements.