FORT HOOD — The backbones of any successful unit are the hardworking Soldiers in the headquarters platoon. As COVID-19 continues to affect unit operations across the force, the headquarters Soldiers remain essential to every aspect of operations.
Staff Sgt. Jermaine O’Neal, supply noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and his team have remained busy during these unprecedented times.
Ordering parts and supplies to sustain the readiness of mission-essential Soldiers, vehicles and equipment is always a priority. As 13th ESC teams moved across the country in support of COVID-19 operations, O’Neal also ensured they had supplies to help with preventive measures for COVID-19.
“We are constantly checking with our supply support activity (SSA) and the base supply facility to see if our COVID-19 supplies come in,” O’Neal explained. “Disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap and other hygienic items are important for Soldiers to have access to while conducting daily operations.”
Readiness is still a top priority and having these preventive items available for Soldiers during physical readiness training is also a no-fail mission.
“Being able to clean our Army combat fitness test equipment after use is crucial given the COVID-19 pandemic,” O’Neal explained. “We make sure the disinfectant wipes and sprays are stocked and available every morning to prevent any sickness from spreading.”
The summer is one of the busiest times for Soldiers and leaders. As COVID-19 travel restrictions loosen, unit supply specialist and armorer, Pfc. Leandria Bradley, HHC, 13th ESC, and the supply team have also been busy preparing for the HHC commander’s upcoming change-of-command.
“As a supply specialist I make sure the commander’s property is accounted for,” Bradley said. “Inventories are a big part of my job.”
Equipment accountability is an essential part of company operations, but also crucial for a successful change-of-command inventory.
“Ensuring all hand receipt holders are signing their hand receipts up to the change-of-command and having their shortages annotated if they are missing parts or equipment is part of our inventory process,” Bradley said.
These inventories are important in order for the current commander to transition out successfully, as well as set the incoming commander up for success.
Given the social distancing requirements, inventories have been done keeping the health of the force a priority.
“We have broken down inventories by equipment type and section,” Bradley explained. “If we have to be closer than six feet, we have our masks and limit the participants to the commander, the hand receipt holder and a supply rep to minimize the possible spread of the virus.”
Although their jobs never slow down, even more so during this pandemic, Bradley continues to appreciate what her team is able to accomplish.
“The people in my section are really helpful,” Bradley said. “I appreciate them a lot. If I can't rely on anyone else I know my NCO and clerk will be there and together, we can handle anything!”