Three star visits deployed Soldiers in Iraq
November 21, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION SPEICHER, Iraq - Navy Vice Adm. Alan Thompson, the director of the Defense Logistics Agency, or DLA, had lunch here Nov. 13 with some Alabama National Guard Soldiers from the 2025th Transportation Company out of Jacksonville, Ala.
The 2025th Trans. Co. is assigned to the 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, and four Soldiers from the unit, including its senior noncommissioned officer, work for the DLA as civilians at the Defense Depot at Anniston, Ala.
Thompson talked to the Soldiers about their overall mission, how missions "outside the wire" go, and about their civilian work.
First Sgt. James Ponder, of Jacksonville, Ala., works as the shop chief at the Anniston Army Depot; Sgt. 1st Class Wendell Thompson of Jacksonville, Ala., works as a heavy mobile equipment mechanic at the depot; Sgt. Eric Deramus, of Oxford, Ala., and Spc. Jamal Morris of Jacksonville, Ala., are responsible for loading containers at the depot.
This division focuses on most tracked-vehicles in the U.S. inventory. This focus includes inspecting overhauled vehicles, storing them, minor repair and preparation for shipping to various units throughout the world, said Ponder.
The DLA is a logistics combat support agency whose primary role is to provide supplies and services to America's military forces world-wide. They support every branch of the military and have approximately 21,000 military and civilian employees worldwide. Thompson has been the director of the DLA since Nov. 2008, explained Ponder.
"It is a remarkable coincidence," said Thompson, about meeting four Soldiers in one unit that work for DLA. "The services provided by these Soldiers while they work for DLA on the civilian side will in turn benefit those in their military unit."
Thompson said the DLA provides spare parts that are keeping trucks like those used by units like the 2025th Trans. Co. running.
Thompson visits Iraq a couple of times a year to check on the support DLA provides. He said it also gives him the opportunity to thank his DLA team members that are deployed to Iraq.
"Three-hundred and fifty DLA employees are forward deployed," said Thompson.
These employees are a combination of both civilian and military personnel, he said. There is also a team at the Taji Depot helping build Iraqi Security Forces logistics capabilities.
"It was an honor to meet my civilian boss and I never dreamed I would meet the DLA commander here in Iraq," said Ponder. "Our Soldiers were glad to have a chance to meet their DLA director."