In a workforce as large and geographically diverse as that of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, there are many unsung heroes doing remarkable things to support America’s warfighters on a daily basis.
Most, if not all, understand the importance of what they do and take great satisfaction knowing they have a job that makes a difference to the Army, the Department of Defense and the country as a whole.
Jessica Blain is a logistics management specialist matrixed to the Missile Defense Agency in support of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Program’s Lifecycle Management Directorate in Fort Greely, Alaska. In the sub-arctic environment of the Alaskan Interior, employees like Blain face challenges that most others never have to deal with, including, but limited to, temperatures as cold -40 degrees Fahrenheit (before factoring in wind chill). Blain’s career with the Army was almost inevitable. She grew up around the Army with a father who was both a Soldier and Army civilian and spent several summers working as a summer hire during high school. Her civilian career officially began with the Army Materiel Command Fellows Program and has continued for 16 years.
In her current position, Blain helps develop and maintain the GMD weapon system so it is ready for the warfighter to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles that might threaten the United States.
“I take pride in knowing that what we do directly provides the warfighter with a ready and reliable system that is available to defend the nation from a ballistic missile attack,” said Blain. “The warfighter operates the system, but we, along with our industry contractor counterparts, maintain the system. It’s a unique partnership.”
That pride in her work was on full display when Blain identified a potential vulnerability to supplies stored in an unmanned warehouse on Fort Greely.
Blain knew the building was climate-controlled but was cognizant of the fact that should the heating system run out of fuel, supplies could be damaged due to the extremely cold and harsh winter conditions.
“I thought of a solution and took the initiative to have our facility maintainer install warning lights that would alert people when the internal temperature of the building fell below 40 degrees,” said Blain. “They did so at no cost to the government and added the facilities to their light monitoring route. This is a light used for the same purpose in base housing.
“While it may have seemed overkill to a few people in its initiation, the system worked as designed twice that first winter, alerting people to a failure in the heating system and saving valuable supplies and equipment,” said Blain.
Dave Luntz, division chief site logistics and Blain’s supervisor, said she is not only a consummate professional, but the glue that holds the team together and has the innate ability of uplifting morale and making the harsh arctic environment a little easier to enjoy.
“Ms. Blain is an important member of our sustainment team, and I rely on her to assemble many of the team products we put together in response to AMCOM and MDA takings,” said Luntz. “Whether it's a policy review, a historical report or an acquisition document, she skillfully compiles the teams inputs and assembles a professional and always on time response.’
Blain said there are many things she loves about her job, and appreciates the support of her supervisor Dave Luntz and the outstanding work of the entire site logistics team in managing logistics actions at three geographically dispersed locations (Fort Greely, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Colorado Springs, Colorado).
“It is pretty exciting to work just a few thousand feet from the interceptors that have the awesome mission of saving major American cities, should they ever need to be utilized – although, I pray that day never comes,” said Blain. “I love that AMCOM provided me the opportunity to be stationed in Huntsville and work in a place as unique and beautiful as Alaska. There is nothing more rewarding than providing the warfighter with the reliable tools they need to complete their mission.”