By Staff Sgt. Jennifer BunnMay 9, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- From ink pens to weapon repair parts to vehicle engines, everyone needs items that come through the supply system. But people seldom think about how much effort and money go into procuring those items to keep a brigade functioning properly and ready for battle.
The Supply Support Activity for 2nd Brigade Combat Team is run by Soldier-logisticians assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 210th Brigade Support Battalion Rear. They follow the entire life of a product, which includes how it is acquired, distributed, allocated and delivered.
The Soldiers who work in the SSA warehouse are 92A automated logistic specialists. They attend a 12-week advanced individual training at Fort Lee, Va., before receiving an assignment to their first duty station.
The skills they acquire during AIT and on-the-job training enable them to follow items through five distinct sections of the warehouse: receiving, storage, issue, turn-in and stock control. All sections contribute to the tracking of each item that is ordered by the brigade.
Items enter the warehouse through the receiving section, where they are matched with the accompanied paperwork that gives the item name, unit of issue and quantity. Once they are processed and entered into Standard Army Retail Supply System, they are either put in storage or customer pick-up bins.
The storage section maintains the authorized stockage list. The SSA must maintain certain repair parts and supplies on hand in the warehouse for quick turnaround for customer orders.
Customer supplies and repair parts are maintained in the issue section, where they are separated into bins ready for quick customer issue.
A section designed specifically for turn-in helps customers save money for their units by accepting recoverable, serviceable and unserviceable parts.
Stock control, the "brains" of the operation, tracks everything that goes on in the warehouse. This section maintains the status on every item that is on order, en route and currently in the warehouse.
Each section is run by a group of Soldiers who have specific duties to ensure customers receive their supplies in a timely manner. Although they work in a warehouse, customer service plays a big part in every section.
"Soldiers need to have patience, be friendly and approachable," said 1st Lt. Kelly Cammack, accountable officer for the SSA. "They need to know how to speak to people in a customer service way."
The 210th BSB SSA obtains class 2, 7 and 9 items for the 98 Department of Defense Activity Address Codes throughout the brigade. Each DoDAAC is a six-position code that identifies a customer who is authorized to requisition and receive items from the warehouse.
Staff Sgt. Amber McClenny, platoon sergeant and noncommissioned officer in charge of the SSA, has worked in logistics for 13 years. She said some of their tasks are minuscule and tedious but extremely important. Her Soldiers need to be organized and pay attention to detail for the warehouse to run smoothly since so many customers rely on them for supplies and everything needs to be accounted.
"Organizational skills are definitely needed, (because) it is so easy to lose stuff," McClenny said. "We do inventories once a week. It is very tedious work, but the lieutenant is accountable for every screw, pin and spring that is in here. It all comes down to money."
Since McClenny arrived at the SSA a few months ago, she has made it her priority to train her Soldiers in every aspect of the warehouse and common mission essential tasks. She helped revamp their standard operating procedures so they could close the warehouse for nonessential tasks to concentrate on sergeant time training each Thursday morning.
"I want them to be versatile. I do not want someone to come here and say they could not turn something in because 'so and so' did not know how to take in a turn-in part," she said. "I try to keep them knowledgeable on all aspects of the warehouse."
Although many Soldiers in the brigade are deployed, most still have a mission on Fort Drum. All battalions continue to request supplies and repair parts to keep themselves fully mission capable.
"We still have a really big mission with 98 (Department of Defense Activity Address Codes) to support on a daily basis," McClenny explained.
Even though the 210th BSB SSA's main focus is 2nd BCT, they do help other brigades obtain much-needed parts, such as repair parts for a deadline vehicle.
"Our main focus is 2nd Brigade, but if another unit from another brigade came in, we are authorized to issue a part to them," Cammack said.
The 2nd Brigade also can receive items from other SSA warehouses. McClenny said that financial constraints due to budget cuts make them more resourceful.
"We branch out to other warehouses to find the things that people need locally, to stop all the extra funding," she said. "Also, Fort Drum has a free issue warehouse, where they track miscellaneous parts that are found here on post."
Regardless of the work tempo, McClenny said her Soldiers are getting the job done.
"They are doing (well). We are short on NCOs and even shorter on Soldiers. Every single day I ask so much of them. … There is not one task I have asked them to do (that has not) been completed. I have a really good crew."
So, regardless of how much you think about how your vehicle repair parts, computers, pens and battalion gym equipment were obtained, the SSA Soldiers will do their best to get you what you need for your mission.
"I know that we are very important to the mission, because without the logistics, I do not think 2nd BCT would get all their missions done," said Sgt. German Rodriquez, NCOIC of issue, turn-in and
receiving sections. "I think we are very vital to 2nd BCT. It is very important that we properly take care of our own units."