DOL supply chief says it's always been about the Soldiers
September 16, 2011
Whether it was in Germany, Korea or on the home front at Walter Reed and Fort Belvoir there was always one goal; one mission for the retiring Directorate of Logistics, chief of supply and services.
"It's always working with the Soldiers," according to Linda Raskin, who spent the last 35 years handling supplies for the Army in some fashion.
Raskin, who is Retiring Sept. 30, said she will always be most proud of the support she has provided military servicemembers over the last three and a half decades.
"The mission of DOL is Soldier support," said Raskin. "We see Soldiers everyday whether it's issuing them their equipment or fixing it; port calls, whatever. But, that's what DOL does is take care of Soldiers from one aspect to another. So, that's always the best part."
Born in Santa Anna, Calif. but primarily raised in San Diego, Raskin began boot camp for the Army in August 1976 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She spent the next 12 years working as a unit supply Soldier in U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder, Germany, Pusan, Korea, Walter Reed, Md. and Fort Belvoir., Va.
Raskin was stationed in Germany during the Cold War. She said the installation was on alert daily to guard against any potential hostility from the Russian Red Brigade. She spent many nights sleeping in a tent in a field which was the norm for an American Army servicemember in those times.
"If you were in Germany you were out in the field and you were in tents," said Raskin. "It was usually winter time, so you were usually cold."
After leaving Germany, Raskin was stationed at Fort Belvoir, Va. in 1984.
Thomas Fowler, Central Issue Facility, property book officer, hired Raskin to work at DOL. He said her military background was key in his decision making process.
"Linda's a true professional," Fowler said. "I did 30 years in the Army myself and I know what a professional is. She's down to business, she's dependable. If you give her a task she's going to do it and she's honest enough to come back to you and say I don't know how to do this, or I ran into a brick wall."
Raskin said the biggest difficulty she's faced at DOL has been the constant change as the Army tries to "figure out what it wants to be."
She did say the changes she has seen within DOL since 1989 have been positive and have made her job easier.
"Automation is the big thing," said Raskin. "Before, supply was like 'give them what they want, give them what they think they need.' Now, it's 'We're going to let them know what they need,' and "We're going to give them what we say they need. Sign for it and then go.'"
Helping out the Soldiers by issuing them supplies isn't the only way Raskin has helped out. She has been a consistent volunteer for many events on post including Oktoberfest which she will again volunteer for next month.
"I enjoy the interaction with the people. I get to work with different directorates within base operations," said Raskin. "I know more people on post because of volunteering or working through emergencies or different events on post because of that. You get out and you network more and expand your horizons more."
The constant volunteering and networking has also helped her professionally.
"More people know me, so when I need something or I respond to something they know who I am and we work better together," Raskin said. "It gets things done faster."
Now set to retire and move back to San Diego, Raskin hopes to help out another group of people.
Raskin was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer last year and would like to work with children who have been afflicted with cancer themselves.
"I'm contemplating working with Kaiser (Permanente)," said Raskin. "Most doctors haven't been through what they put us through, so for children I can't even imagine what kind of journey that is for them and their parents."