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News | Oct. 30, 2019

DLA Troop Support Academy brings ‘Warfighter First’ mission to life for new employees

By Nancy Benecki DLA Troop Support

“Warfighter first” is at the heart of everything the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support does. Thousands of employees work together to ensure that warfighters have the right items, at the right time and the right place.

At this year’s DLA Troop Support Academy, held over three days at the agency’s headquarters in Philadelphia from Oct. 22-24, about 100 employees learned more about the organization from leaders and subject matter experts from the five supply chains and other organizational areas such as the Product Testing Center, Process Compliance and Finance offices.

“During my first few weeks at Troop Support, I was absolutely amazed to learn how all the pieces come together across the agency, and how we, from all the different major subordinate commands, provide top-notch support to our warfighters,” DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence, said during the Troop Support Academy welcome. “It’s my hope that during this academy, we will have shown just how you fit into the big picture of what the agency does.”

Army Maj. Gen. Michel Russell, the director of operations for the Army Logistics G4 in the Pentagon, was the first speaker in the three-part “Warfighter Speaks” series during the academy, where employees heard first-hand details about how important Troop Support’s efforts are for those in all of the military service branches.

He served on the Korean Peninsula for three years, where he was the commanding general of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. When he first arrived in July 2016, he said the services did not have the necessary supplies to be prepared for any event over a lengthy period of time.

“When we reached out to all the services to start bolstering ourselves up in certain commodities, one of my major partners was DLA,” Russell said. “You helped us get to where we needed to be. Specifically, DLA Troop Support helped us in terms of Subsistence, because we needed tens of thousands of MREs, and you got that for us.”

The Clothing and Textiles supply chain provided fire-retardant uniforms, and thanks to the support of the Medical supply chain, troops can sustain a fight for months with the supplies they now have, Russell said.

On the second day of the program, employees had a site visit to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, where they saw how DLA directly supports warfighters. The day included a demonstration by the 87th Security Forces Squadron Phoenix Ravens, a display of Marine helicopters, and lunch at the newly renovated Halvorsen Hall dining facility.

Gary Pease, a planner in the Clothing and Textiles supply chain who started at Troop Support in August, said it was “outstanding” to learn about DLA’s mission and how it supports the troops.

“Being retired military myself, I think everyone who works for DLA should go through this academy, so they understand the whole mission,” he said. “It’s taking ownership of what we do on the day-to-day basis.”