STUTTGART, Germany – In their 1980 hit song ‘Refugee’ Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sang the lyrics ‘… you see you don’t have to live like a refugee’ and that’s exactly what Kajendran Vasanthakumar is no longer doing. He’s no longer living like a refugee.
The purchasing agent at Logistics Readiness Center Stuttgart, who is originally from Sri Lanka, arrived in Germany as a refugee in 2011. A couple of months ago – now in his sixth year with the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s LRC Stuttgart – Vasanthakumar received his permanent citizenship for Germany.
“When I first came to Germany in 2011, my status was refugee because at that time it was a very bad situation in Sri Lanka,” Vasanthakumar said. “I had many problems when I arrived, initially. I didn’t have a visa for the first three years, but finally I received my German work visa and I started working for some German companies.”
“I worked in the German workforce from 2014 to 2016, which was okay, but thank God I figured out that there are also good job opportunities working with the U.S. military in Germany,” said Vasanthakumar, who started out working at LRC Stuttgart’s Central Receiving Point and then took a promotion and worked at the Central Issue Facility.
“I really enjoy working for the U.S. Army and LRC Stuttgart,” he said.
“When I first started working for the Army in 2016, I received many positive ICE (interactive customer evaluation) comments, and more than one commander presented me with a commander’s coin for excellence,” said Vasanthakumar.
“And then in 2017, I was selected as employee of the year for LRC Stuttgart,” he added.
“I was so surprised when the brigade commander came here asking for me by name because he wanted to know who this guy was at LRC Stuttgart getting all these positive ICE comments,” said Vasanthakumar, who is 35-years-old and has a college diploma in business management from Sri Lanka.
Vasanthakumar said as the plans and operations purchasing agent for LRC Stuttgart, he is responsible for ordering supplies – both on the local German economy and from the United States using the Global Combat Support System-Army, an online accountability and financial system of record the Army uses.
“We have six separate divisions in LRC Stuttgart – the Installation Property Book Office, Drivers Testing and Training, Personal Property Processing Office, Transportation Motor Pool, Central Issue Facility, and the LRC Stuttgart headquarters,” Vasanthakumar said. “I order supplies and make purchases for all of them.”
Vasanthakumar, who carries a government purchase card with a $25,000 single purchase limit and a $150,000 monthly limit, has ordered new telephones, printer cartridges and various office supplies for LRC Stuttgart in the past few weeks. Beyond normal lifecycle replacement timelines, Vasanthakumar has also ordered automation equipment during short-notice, emergent situations.
In addition to purchasing agent, Vasanthakumar is LRC Stuttgart’s Works Council representative and leader. He said he enjoys what he’s doing and where he’s working because everyone gets along so well – like a team, like a family.
“Personally, I live here in Germany alone. My family is in Sri Lanka so I think of my coworkers also as my family, now,” said Vasanthakumar, who has parents, a brother and a sister there. “There’s a lot of respect traveling in all directions at my work. Everyone takes care of each other. Every morning they say ‘hi, how are you? How are you this morning?’ Everyone is so friendly. I said to myself ‘they’re my family now, too.’”
“I do my very best working at LRC Stuttgart. I work very hard, and I appreciate everything everyone has done for me,” he said.
LRC Stuttgart is one of seven LRCs under the command and control of the 405th AFSB. LRCs execute installation logistics support and services to include supply, maintenance, transportation and food service management as well as clothing issue facility operations, hazardous material management, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, property book operations, and non-tactical vehicle and garrison equipment management. When it comes to providing day-to-day installation services, LRC Stuttgart directs, manages and coordinates a variety of operations and activities in support of U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart.
LRC Stuttgart reports to the 405th AFSB, which is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website and the official Facebook site.