Stewart Civilian leadership enlightened by DOL tour
November 23, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Fort Stewart Civilians loaded onto buses early Nov. 18 to visit varying departments belonging to Fort Stewart's Directorate of Logistics to better understand how the directorate supports Third Infantry Division customers. The tour was designed to familiarize leaders from each directorate with the inner workings of their teammates across the installation. The program itself was the brain-child of Fort Stewart's Garrison Commander, Col. Kevin Milton.
"This is a garrison commander initiative that allows Civilians to see different directorates and what they do so we can interact better," said DOL Deputy James Niksch. "I think this is a super idea. The more you understand about your customer and co-workers, the better you can operate effectively. We do supply maintenance and transportation. In those three areas, we do everything to get a Soldier prepared and trained up for war. Then we receive that Soldier and reset his equipment to return to war."
Participants learned how DOL operates daily in an interactive way rather than classroom style instruction.
"This is our first one and we tried to tailor today's tour around being in the Civilian's shoes, Niksch said. I'm pleased with what we got today. The DOL touches a wide array of entities and we were able to focus on what we do here at Stewart."
The Troop Issue Subsistence Activity, the Army's class one of supply, was the first stop during the tour. Installation Food Program Manager, Cornelius Williams introduced attendees to the Soldier's food supply with a static display. Visitors viewed both dry and cold storage facilities that can otherwise be referred to as "a big Wal-Mart," according to Williams.
"Soldiers eat very well. We always want to put a Soldier to bed with a hot meal," Williams said.
The second stop on the tour focused on the maintenance operation of DOL. Subject matter experts provided demonstrations on small arms weapons and attendees were given an opportunity to view staged vehicles up close. Some of the vehicles on display included a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle and a M1097 Humvee that are repaired by both DOL and contract employees.
Following the maintenance visit, participants boarded buses bound for the next stop, the Central Issue Facility. The CIF is one of the first stops a new Marne Soldier would come in contact with while in processing at Stewart-Hunter. The new building is the warehouse operation for issuing organizational equipment otherwise known as Army property that is on loan to the Soldier. Soldiers lined up with carts ready to receive their equipment. The transaction takes less than one hour, aided by the use of computers and personnel.
Also located in CIF is the Rapid Fielding Initiative where Soldiers headed to theatre operations, receive body armor and head gear designed to protect the Army's most valued asset- the Soldier. At the conclusion of a brief demonstration, attendees were allowed to try on a 46 pound vest and 50 pound ruck sack which Soldiers wear while in theater.
"I wanted to see what the armor felt like," attendee Kamaria Black said. "Putting on the gear was a great experience, although I felt as though I was going to fall over. I have a new perspective of what our Soldiers go through and the sacrifices they make for us."
Following the CIF tour, attendees viewed the Retail/Bulk fuel areas on the way to the main transportation areas otherwise called the rail marshalling area. The RMA is 31 square acres of concrete and serves as a staging area for vehicles that are bound for Iraq, Afghanistan and points beyond. The massive lot can hold equipment for two heavy combat brigades simultaneously while in preparation for ship or plane transportation according to Richard Rayman, chief of deployment operations. Rayman added the 24 hour on-site operation is the "muscle movement for the 3rd ID."
Last stop on the tour was the Ammunition Supply Point. Attendees listened to a brief overview on how ammunition is properly stored in an effort to avoid a major catastrophe on the installation and the surrounding areas.
With its many unique facets, DOL provides world-class services to its many customers on the installation ranging from Soldiers to tenant units. The tour itself provided insight about DOL for the nearly 45 attendees.
"It's important that Civilians are aware of what the installation has to offer, attendee Beverly Carradine-Gilmore said. "If a customer asked a question that you did not know the answer to, at least you can say I may not know the answer but I get you to the directorate that should be able to help you. That is a quicker way to remedy a problem than saying 'I don't know."
"We are all here for our customers," Niksch said. "We are here for one mission and one mission only. The more we can understand what the Soldier is going through the better we can tailor our services to help them. I heard a general once say, 'I don't know what logistics does, but I want some of it.'"