HERLONG, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2013) -- Sierra Army Depot welcomed Gen. Dennis L. Via, commanding general of Army Materiel Command, for his first visit here, Feb. 5-6.

Maj. Gen. Michael Terry, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, or TACOM LCMC, commanding general and TACOM LCMC Command Sgt. Maj. Karl Schmitt were on hand for the first visit by the Army Materiel Command, or AMC, commander. Additional AMC visitors with Via were Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Riling, Col. Michael Peterman, and Lt. Col. Mark Parker.

Via started off the visit having dinner with a crew from the fire department, where he then presented the group with a certificate of appreciation for their extraordinary leadership, technical and tactical skills which enhanced the overall readiness of Sierra Army Depot.

On Tuesday morning, Lt. Col. Christopher Dexter, Sierra Army Depot commander, began the day with a tour through the Containerization and Assembly Directorate. Susan Getty, director of Containerization and Assembly, known as C&A, began with the Humvee Add-on Armor reclamation and kitting mission. Getty explained how reclaimed armor from the Reset operations being performed at other installations is sent to Sierra Army Depot, refurbished, and packaged. The complete Armor Door kits are then stored as contingency stock assets until they are needed for future use.

As the group walked through the remaining areas of C&A, Getty stopped to explain Sierra's role in producing brand new 120K Fuel System Supply Point systems. She expanded the discussion to include our role in supporting New Equipment Training, or NET, and subsequent system hand-off procedures to units designated to receive the equipment.

"I have been to a lot of places in this command, and the one thing that impresses me the most here is the quality and appearance in the organization," Via stated. "It gives me the confidence this equipment is going to arrive to the Soldier and is going to be ready to meet all the objectives it is supposed to meet."

Before departing C&A, Via looked around the warehouse and said, "Be very proud of it. (The warehouse is) neat and organized; looks like there is a place for everything where it needs to be. Reminds me of doing inspections in barracks. It looks like how things are supposed to be. It says a lot about an organization just by looking at it."

The next stop along the tour was the equipment Retrograde and Redistribution warehouse. Via was introduced to Jason Tong who walked him through the production lines of the receiving area. Tong explained that Sierra operates the Army's largest Standard Army Retail Supply System, or SARSS, site dedicated to processing excess and retrograde material from units in Afghanistan and South West Asia, or SWA, as well as all other Army sites overseas and within the continental U.S.

Tong continued to say the depot currently provides for the receipt, identification, condition code classification, storage, Care of Supplies in Storage, security, accountability, disposal, and shipment of excess Non-Army Managed Items and some Army Managed Items from SWA. Via gained an understanding how these unique operations clearly provide a readiness and operational value to the Army and the Nation through management and controlled redistribution of this equipment to meet urgent unit demands (for units in combat in Afghanistan, as well as those returning from deployments).

As the group transitioned over to the Organizational Clothing & Individual Equipment, known as OCIE, operations, John Dingman explained to Via how this is an AMC directed and TACOM CMO managed mission to process newly purchased and serviceable retrograde clothing and heraldry material from Southwest Asia/Afghanistan for issuing back to troops worldwide.

Dingman started out by describing how Sierra receives/identifies/classifies and brings to record returned clothing items directly from units redeploying from SWA, new OCIE from DLA, "excess" OCIE from Clothing and Issue Facilities, or CIFs, and posts/camps/stations worldwide, and subsequently builds and ships reset "kits" to CIF's worldwide in direct support of units getting ready to deploy. After talking about the clothing, the group moved over to the area where body armor plates are received and are scanned through the portable, deployable, self-contained system - Non-Destructive Test Equipment, which detects physical or structural defects in the plates.

Continuing on with the armor plates, the group walked through the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert/Enhanced Side Ballistic Insert Plate Repair program. Dingman described how the depot repairs small holes in the fabric covering or frayed edges of the plates in accordance with instructions from the Program Manager, Soldier Protective Equipment. Via was impressed how Sierra Army Depot devised a mechanism to "patch" these plates and return them to inventory as serviceable assets, at a cost of approximately $16.00 each, in lieu of purchasing a new body armor plate for about $550.00 each.

The production lines caught the attention of Via as the group began a quick walk through the OCIE Support to the reserve-component OCIE area. Via commented on how Sierra has captured the true essence of successful production lines. He went on to say how other sites dealing with excess material should come here to gain a better understanding how to set up lines and how they work.

Once again, Via turned to the group and said, "Be proud of what you are doing."

The last stop for the tour was the Non-Standard Equipment mission area. William Junk talked about how Sierra operates the Army's main Non-Standard Equipment, or NSE, centralized retrograde mission which receives NSE Retrograde from theater and provides receipt and final disbursements to units and to individual States throughout the Nation through the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property.

Prior to Via's departure, the group traveled through the End of First Life Center where Donald Olson, deputy to the Sierra Army Depot commander, talked about Sierra's management of the more than 22,000 pieces of equipment (rolling stock, tracked vehicles, materiel handling equipment/construction equipment, and flatracks) stored here. Olson continued to highlight critical importance to the Army once the vehicles are declared excess, with support to the Foreign Military Sales program through on-site Joint Visual Inspection visits.

At the conclusion of the visit, Via emphasized Sierra's uniqueness - 37,000 acres.

"We are uniquely postured to support the Army's continued drawdown of material from SWA, consolidation of equipment as the Army contracts in size, and project power westward as the Army continues to increase its focus toward the Pacific Theater of Operations," Olson informed Via. "We can also support the other services' equipment storage and redistribution needs. We are not constrained by urban encroachment, have over 30,000 buildable acres inside the depot available for expansion, with 'unlimited' outdoor storage capacity."

"Our unique high desert environment experiences an average of less than five inches of precipitation annually, which allows equipment to be stored here indefinitely with little-to-no rust and corrosion protection," Olson explained. "Sierra is the Army's western-most depot, with an extensive internal road and rail network (linked directly to the Nation's interstate and Union Pacific railroad main lines) , with organic Army airfield capable of supporting all military and commercial cargo aircraft."

Sierra Army Depot provides rapid expeditionary logistics support and long-term sustainment solutions to the Army and the joint force. They serve as a 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 warfighter.