Taking care of the deployed
May 20, 2010
- IMCOM iniative provides better care for cars of deployed Soldiers.
- Cars stored in a secure, indoor, climate-controlled building.
Deploying Soldiers have a laundry list of things to take care of before they leave home in support of the Army's mission.
Thanks to the Army's Installation Management Command, those Soldiers will not have to worry about the storage, security and maintenance of their vehicles while they are away. They can now store their vehicles at government expense in a secure, indoor, climate controlled facility with SDV Command Source, LLC, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business.
The Fort Sill Privately Owned Vehicle Storage facility opened Nov. 1 in downtown Lawton on D Avenue with only one task: to ensure Soldier's vehicles are well, taken care of. When Soldiers are briefed about deploying they are notified of this free service. It is simple, quick and efficient. The process starts with the Soldier setting up an appointment through the installation transportation office. After some simple preparation outlined in a free IMCOM POV storage pamphlet, they deliver their vehicle to the facility, and within an average of 30-45 minutes fully in-process their vehicle and have one less concern during their deployment.
"It's done. It's our responsibility to secure and maintain it. They can hug it and kiss it, whatever they want to do and say goodbye," said James Dennison, an automotive worker at SDV.
The staff swiftly goes from greeting the Soldier, some simple paperwork, inspecting the vehicle with the Soldier and signing them up for their website where they can check the status of their vehicle online any time.
"We walk around with the Soldier and every little mark, scratch, dent or ding is written down. We accurately document the overall condition of the vehicle. That way when the Soldier returns we return the vehicle in the same or better condition," explained Steve Jansen, site manager.
SDV opened the first facility of this kind in Fort Lewis, Wash., and expanded it to six installations in the western United States. There are also similar programs in the east as well as in Hawaii and Alaska.
A huge advantage to the new facility is the indoor sheltering of the vehicles from the elements, which in Oklahoma often means extreme temperatures, high winds and hail. Jansen said it's also a major improvement to the alternative Soldiers had before.
"They used to have a big parking lot on post. They'd park the vehicles out there and the Soldiers would be gone for 12-18 months. When they came back if their car started great. If not, you know they had one more thing to take care of," said Jansen.
The SDV staff makes sure the Soldiers come home to a vehicle that has been maintained and is ready for their use. They perform monthly maintenance on the vehicles which automatically shows up on the website for the Soldiers to view.
"If the battery goes dead, it has a flat tire, a drive belt breaks or something like that, we can repair it," said Jansen.
If the repair is more complicated, they will notify the Soldier, get an estimate on how much it would cost to fix and then proceed based upon the Soldier's discretion.
"We start the vehicles for 10 minutes get them to a normal operating temperature, perform standard maintenance to include checking the fluid levels, checking the systems, making sure the battery is charged, the tires are properly inflated, all that good stuff," said Jansen.
"When the Soldiers come back we are notified they're on their way. We prepare the car, reinspect it with the Soldier and they drive off. They're happy."
SDV stands for service-disabled veteran, which means the company employs people with military backgrounds and an understanding of what Soldiers are going through. Jansen and Dennison have both served more than 20 years in the Army. They know their customer, the Soldier. They know the numerous tasks which must be accomplished before deploying and how important their vehicles are to them. Their mission is to help make deployment and redeployment a bit easier with this task.
"If a Soldier wants to store his vehicle, we're going to find a way to take it. We're both retired, we know the deal and it's hard especially when you know you're deploying there's a lot of stuff on your plate. We're just trying to make it easier on them. And it is all about taking care of the Soldiers," said Jansen."This is a superb Army initiative and a great morale builder for our Soldiers."
Jansen said they are also able to take personal vehicles from surrounding military installations and all Army components to include the Reserve and National Guard. For more information on this free service, contact the installation transportation office or the SDV Command Source, LLC Fort Sill POV Storage facility at 580-581-0891 or visit www.agilepovstorage.com and click on the West region and then Fort Sill.