HERLONG, Calif. (Sept. 20, 2012) -- Maj. Gen. John O'Connor, deputy chief of staff G-4, US Forces Command, visited Sierra Army Depot (SIAD) Sept. 20, to gain a better understanding of the depot's Non Standard-Equipment operation.

This was O'Connor's second trip to Sierra. His first was back in August 2009 when he was the Deputy Commander, Surface Deployment & Distribution Command.

The visit began with a short command overview and lengthy discussions about the depot's overall mission and unique capabilities. During this time, O'Connor stated, "Sierra offers a great training venue. It replicates the field - a mini Afghanistan." He went on to ask Lt. Col. Christopher Dexter, SIAD commander, other than cargo distribution, what type of training does SIAD have to offer that will get "Soldiers to do what Soldiers need to do" in the field and to potentially provide support to the Depot. Dexter replied Sierra is always open to Soldiers coming out here for hands on training and provided O'Connor with a list of areas that could provide some specific type training to benefit both.

O'Connor had heard about the numerous combat vehicles stored at Sierra and was anxious to see them, so onto the End of First Life Center (EoFLC) was the next phase of his visit. Dexter, along with Mr. Donald Olson, SIAD's deputy to the commander, drove through the area pointing out and explaining how each day the depot receives vehicles not just from theater, but from various posts and camps.

After leaving the EoFLC, the group traveled over to the area where Retrograde and Redistribution operations were occurring. O'Connor was impressed upon arriving at this area as he stated, "Two years ago I looked out in fields and there was nothing there, now rows and rows of containers fill that area." Mr. Joshua Chandler greeted O'Connor and walked him through the processes used to unpack containers, identify and classify the material, bring items to an accountable record, perform inventory management functions, maintain visibility for the owner, and ultimately ship assets to an end user. Chandler directed O'Connor's attention to a tri-con that was being sorted out and how many of the items do not have identification markings associated with them.

As he walked through the receiving portion of the R&R operations, O'Connor kept repeating his earlier comment regarding training opportunities for Soldiers to come to SIAD and learn these processes that will eventually provide them support in theater or their base post/camp.

After a quick trip through the Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE) where he gained an understanding for the receipt of OCIE assets and then procedded through the repair of the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts (ESAPI) and talked about the savings to the Army.

Upon entering the next area, the shipping portion of R&R, O'Connor's attention was directed to a piece of equipment that has contributed to a savings for the depot in shipping and storage costs. What is it? A bubble wrap machine. O'Connor was amazed that something of this nature existed and immediately stated that the units in Afghanistan need to acquire one, if not several. Mr. Jason Tong informed O'Connor that before purchasing the "bubble wrap" piece of equipment, SIAD was paying high shipping costs, not to mention finding a location to store the rolls of bubble wrap once they arrived on depot.

The final stop along the tour for the morning, the most important purpose of O'Connor's visit, was the Non Standard-Equipment operation. O'Connor first off let everyone know there have been zero complaints on NS-E items stored at SIAD. He said there are over a dozen units across FORSCOM doing similar NS-E missions and would like to see how it is being conducted here at SIAD.

Mr. Riley Junk showed the assortment of assets being received, sorted, inventoried and scanned using Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced (P-BUSE) system as well as a the Army War Reserve Deployment Systems (AWRDS) program to bring material to record and make the assets visible to potential users. The group talked about the shipments coming back from Afghanistan and how some of those items should be sent directly to a subordinate command within the Army Materiel Command or to a designated training facility.

After lunch, the group made their way through the Medical Materiel Readiness Program, under the direction of the US Army Medical Material Agency. Ms. Cindy Garza met with O'Connor and walked him through the step by step process for the deployable hospitals. After that, Garza took O'Connor over to the building where Soldiers with a Combat Support Hospital unit were conducting an inventory of their unit's assets.

During the close-out session with Dexter and his staff, O'Connor thanked everyone for taking the time to host the visit and commented on the professionalism displayed by all the employees. He went on to say how he was pleased throughout the tour observing exceptional processes Sierra has established in every mission being conducted.

Sierra Army Depot provides rapid expeditionary logistics support and long-term sustainment solutions to the Army and the Joint Force. In addition, serves as the Strategic Power Projection Platform providing logistics support for asset receipt, classification, management, storage, distribution, maintenance, assembly & containerization, and the rapid worldwide shipment of material in support of the war fighter.