By Jon Micheal Connor, ASC Public AffairsJune 15, 2016
FORT HOOD, Texas -- Located in central Texas is one of the Army's premier power projection platforms -- Fort Hood -- also known as "The Great Place."
Home to III Corps, 1st Cavalry Division, First Army Division West, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 21 brigades, 40,000 Soldiers, their families, civilian and contracted employees, Fort Hood is proud of its new medical center, post exchange, and stadium.
Fort Hood is also a designated Mobilization Training Center and Mobilization Deployment Platform. It is the largest active-duty armored post in the U.S. with 214,000 acres.
It's here where Logistics Readiness Center-Hood carries out the base operations and logistics support necessary to keep this famous installation running.
"I think the beauty of Fort Hood is that we do basically our entire mission set almost every day," said Robert Bishop, LRC director. "I am mobilizing, and demobilizing Soldiers from Reserve Component, constant ongoing … operations that have been going on for 10 years. I'm moving Reserve Component Soldiers in and out of the installation continuously."
LRC-Hood is one of 70-plus LRCs worldwide aligned under the U.S. Army Sustainment Command whose higher headquarters is the U.S. Army Materiel Command. This LRC reports to the 407th Army Field Support Brigade, also headquartered at Fort Hood.
Among its many missions, LRC-Hood also provides garrison-level logistical support to Active Component, National Guard and Reserve units deploying, redeploying, and demobilizing through Fort Hood.
And how does the LRC wrap itself around all this activity to stay abreast?
"It's a lot of communications. It's a lot of one-on-one visits with my supported customers, understanding their needs and their requirements," Bishop said. "And then looking at the future -- to get them to think about their future requirements -- so we can be prepared for them."
LRC Hood's Program Management Office operates the installation food service program. Among its functions include garrison dining facility operations and providing full-food contract services when a division deploys.
It also monitors all food service support at North Fort Hood and processes all food service requests for Reserve Component units.
"I think we do real good customer services over here. The units come here and pick up ice and MREs and their rations," said Curtis Haynes, materiel handler, Supply Support Management Office, LRC-Hood. "And you know I think pretty much everybody is happy with the service we provide. We haven't had any complaints."
Of course no Army post can operate without supply parts.
"Fort Hood is not only a large installation but it is also a mobilization base so we get National Guard, and reserves coming through here," said Frank Portz, chief, Retail Supply, LRC-Hood. "We supply them with the repair parts that our maintenance uses to fix their equipment prior to deploying and/or once they come back."
Portz explained that LRC-Hood serves as the installation Supply Support Activity. There are 11 tactical SSAs that turn in items to LRC-Hood. They in turn repackage, place on the shelf, and issue out to other organizations on post and elsewhere, such as a unit deployed to Afghanistan.
"We handle just about all classes of supply," Portz said. "We also issue out -- the majority of our items -- Class IX parts, which are repair parts for equipment that is located here on the installation and reality is, worldwide."
During this visit, Portz estimated that on-hand supply items tallied $37 million in value ranging from writing utensils to vehicles, and that up to 3,500 transactions are conducted on a weekly basis, he said.
Another critical function of LRC-Hood is rail operations.
"We deploy the units by rail to a training site like the National Training Center or to overseas deployment through various ports all across the country," said Dirk Davis, supervisor, Rail Operations, LRC-Hood.
During War on Terror, rail operations were extremely busy at times, Davis said.
"In 2003, we did about 2,500 rail cars in 10 days. Now that was working 24/7 and we had literally thousands of people out here to support that effort," he said.
Nowadays, things aren't quite as hectic. Davis said rail operations just worked with a unit going to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, requiring an estimated 600 rail cars equivalent to about eight trains with about 65 cars each taking about 14 days to prep prior to departure.
Cargo ranges from Abrams tanks, HUMVEEs, and containers to Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Davis said. It's transported to the departure area across post courtesy of 28 miles of track.
"You will not find as you go around to your visits an installation with these capabilities of having 500 to 800 rail cars that we can deploy, being able to deploy 24/7. We can do close to 240 rail cars in a 24-hour period. There's nobody else that can come close to us."
Another LRC concern of transportation is moving people.
"We move people's property and people. When they come down on official orders, whether they're PCSing to another location or whether they're separating from the service, they have an entitlement to move household goods, which is encompassing of the actual household goods, unaccompanied baggage or POVs -- privately owned vehicles -- depending on where they're going," said Shirley Carey, chief, Personnel Services Transportation Branch, LRC-Hood.
And they have a travel entitlement also dependent on where they're going which would include an airline ticket or travel pay.
"Summer is always a lot more traffic because the Army tries to move more people during the school break to minimize the impact on the family," Carey said, adding that about 2,300 people are serviced in a month.
Like with all of LRC's responsibilities, customer service is always at the top of the list.
"We want to make sure the customer understands they're not just a number," she said. "Everyone has the same need but they will envision their need a little differently."
Those with children focus on the disruption to the family, others on their property especially if they have antiques, and the time it takes to move property from the old location to the new, Carey cited as examples.
"We want them to understand that the process is a process that everyone has to go through, but it's a process that's a safe process," she said.
LRC-Hood's complete responsibilities include: Operation of the Ammunition Supply Point; bulk fuel support; operation of a central receiving point for goods delivered to the installation; Central Issue Facility; Class VII yard and Weapons Warehouse; management of Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment; management of the installation property book; laundry and dry cleaning for OCIE items; food service including dining facilities and Subsistence Supply Management Office; field level maintenance for garrison and tenants; Life Health and Safety equipment support; regional container repair program; repair depot level recoverables as part of the National Maintenance Program; operation of the installation transportation offices including freight, personal property, passenger travel, rail operations, unit movement support, Arrival / Departure Airfield Control Group; management of leased vehicles / non-tactical vehicles; and storage and movement of privately owned household goods of military personnel and selected civilian personnel.
"We only exist for one reason, that's for our Soldiers," said Bishop, the LRC-director. "Without them we don't have jobs."