Fort Belvoir, Virginia –
ARMY’S LAST HUEYS FLY OFF TO ACTIVE RETIREMENT
After six decades of service, the Army is retiring what are thought to be the last of its flying UH-1 “Huey” Iroquois helicopters with help from the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services’ Law Enforcement Support Office.
Hueys left active duty decades ago, replaced by the UH-60 Blackhawks, but kept finding honest work in support roles at Redstone Army Arsenal in Alabama, New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range and the Army’s proving grounds at Yuma, Arizona.
Police departments slated to receive the Hueys are already identified. There were more requests than there were Hueys, said DLA Disposition Services’ Cassandra Radig-Madden, who remembers ordering repair parts for the bird when she was an Army supply specialist at Yuma.
The Michigan State Police Aviation unit is one of the few law enforcement agencies receiving the helicopter. The unit expects to use it in search and rescue operations and possibly firefighting.
“It’s already 45 years old, but it passed all the inspections; the airframe is in great shape. We can probably fly this thing for a couple hundred hours a year, and I foresee us using this for 10 to 12 years,” said Sgt. Jerry King, a pilot with the Michigan police.
– Jeff Landenberger, DLA Disposition Services
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SAVING LIFE AFTER TERRORIST BOMBING GARNERS ARMY AWARD
Ask any Defense Logistics Agency employee to sum up the agency’s mission, and they will likely answer, “Support the warfighter.” But that mission takes on a far more dangerous meaning on the battlefield.
Army Col. Rick Ellis, commander of the DLA Support Team in Afghanistan, was awarded the Combat Action Badge Nov. 26; an honor he earned for his actions on what began as a typical day in Bagram, Afghanistan.
“On Nov. 12, there was a Veterans Day 5K run scheduled, and our start point was North Disney Blvd., across from the Bagram Support Group headquarters,” he said. “I got up early that morning because I had signed up to participate in the run.”
Ellis said he saw a friend, Col. Chris Colavita, the First Cavalry Division Resolute Support sustainment brigade commander. They slowed briefly to exchange playful taunts and then continued on their separate ways.
Not more than 90 seconds later, there was an explosion.
“I hit the deck and covered my head because I initially thought it was an indirect fire,” Ellis said.
When he looked up, Ellis first saw people running toward him and then looked over his shoulder and saw the billowing black cloud of smoke behind him.
“I came upon a soldier who was later identified as Pfc. Robert Healy,” he said. Healy was bleeding profusely from his left hand.
“I tried to calm him down a little bit,” Ellis said. “I said, ‘I’m Rick, from DLA. Just stay calm.’”
Ellis asked Healy where his tourniquet was, since all deployed service members are equipped with one. After applying the tourniquet, Ellis said Healy insisted he needed to get to a hospital.
Since ambulances hadn’t yet arrived, Ellis helped Healy into a police car. Once they departed, Ellis revisited the scene to see who else he could assist.
He saw Colavita, who had been rendered temporarily unconscious from the blast. “We all got blown to the ground,” Colavita said. “It was a bloody, horrific scene – like something out of a movie.”
It wasn’t until Ellis spoke with Colavita that he learned the explosion was the result of a suicide bomber.
“When he got to me, I was just angry at this cowardly bomber,” Colavita said. “[Ellis] was a calming presence.”
In all, four died, and 16 were wounded. Colavita talked to many of the injured soldiers and their family members, including Healy’s mother who asked him to help her find “Rick from the EOD [Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachment].”
“I laughed and said, ‘Rick from EOD is actually Col. Rick Ellis, a good friend of mine,’” Colavita said.
Even after Colavita arranged a telephone call to reunite Ellis and Healy, Healy still referred to Ellis simply as “Rick.” Ellis doesn’t mind the informality.
“My perspective is, I did the thing that anybody would have done,” Ellis said.
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DLA DISTRIBUTION PURSUES BAHRAIN-CENTRIC NETWORK IN ARABIAN PENINSULA
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution is pursuing a Bahrain-centric distribution network for Arabian Peninsula countries including Yemen, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The activity currently supports most countries in the peninsula via DLA Distribution Germany or DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. A DLA Distribution facility is also already located in Manama, Bahrain, but its main focus has been on Navy elements in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, said Navy Cmdr. Erik Naley, DLA Distribution Bahrain commander.
In the future, the Bahrain facility will support all countries on the peninsula with items ranging from repair parts to construction material, he said. DLA is partnering with the U.S. Transportation Command to schedule the movement of that material through the emerging Trans-Arabian Network routes, which supports U.S. Central Command’s goal of creating a robust ground network with sea and air options throughout the peninsula.
– Brianne M. Bender, DLA Distribution Public Affairs
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DLA REGIONAL COMMANDERS SHIFT TO TOUCH POINTS FOR GEOGRAPHIC COMBATANT COMMAND
As an agency, we live and work in a dynamic environment. We have to anticipate, assess and meet current and future warfighter requirements. This was evident just a few months ago, when the director saw the need to have our regional commanders act as the DLA touch points for their respective geographic combatant commands. The Command and Control — or C2 — Initiative fundamentally changes the way our regional commands and primary-level field activities interface with our customers.
Instead of dealing with six different points of contact — one for each PLFA — our customers will now look to DLA Central and Special Operations Command, DLA Europe & Africa, and DLA Pacific as the “easy buttons” for DLA support. One commander will act as the DLA face to customers in each region, backed by the power of nine supply chains and 25,000 employees.
When it comes to customer needs, the regional PLFAs will work through the regional commands, leaning on their broader view of theater priorities. DLA Energy Europe & Africa, DLA Troop Support Central, and all the others will have their support wrapped into a more holistic management of DLA’s business. This helps our customers better understand what DLA can provide them and provides them a more consistent DLA engagement.
What won’t change is the supply chain expertise resident in each PLFA. When it comes to managing those global supply chains, the pipelines that feed, clothe, heal, fuel and repair our warfighters and their equipment, no one is better than the PLFAs. Each will still be responsible for the health of its respective supply chains.
We socialized our C2 initiative with the affected combatant commands, and all are positive about the change. It better aligns us with the military services’ practices, with a command structure that more closely resembles that of an Army brigade or an Air Force group. It will also ensure our commanders come from their services’ centrally-selected lists. We’ll have vetted candidates the services identify as their best. That lets us put the right person in the right place, at the right time.
This is all a big change, but it will not substantially impact the way most DLA team members perform their duties. Some positions at the regional PLFAs will be adjusted to better align with responsibilities and scope. Reporting relationships and procedures will naturally evolve to match this new structure. A majority of our workforce will be unaffected, but change isn’t easy, and DLA’s leaders appreciate that. Our intent is to make the necessary personnel adjustments gradually as people move on to new opportunities.
At the end of the day, it’s all being done to support the No. 1 goal in the DLA Strategic Plan: Warfighter First. This innovation responds to the needs of our most important customers, enabling us to continue delivering the solutions they demand.
— Navy Rear Adm. Vincent Griffith
Director, DLA Logistics Operations