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News | Sept. 21, 2020

C&T provides boots ‘on the ground’ to firefighters combating West Coast wildland fires

By Mikia Muhammad DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s Clothing and Textiles team provided boots to the Army National Guard in support of mobilized firefighters combating West Coast wildland fires.

More than 700 pairs of hot weather Army combat boots have been delivered to customers as of September 17, typically within 24 to 96 hours of ordering, said Ted Kelly, C&T customer relationship management cell supervisor.

“This was a very labor intensive effort and we jumped through hoops to make this happen for the customer,” Kelly said.

Each order was manually processed by customer account specialist Colleen Ford, who ensured orders placed through FEDMALL were accurately captured into DLA’s strategic management system. Ford also worked with DLA representatives from the Customer Interaction Center, Distribution and liaisons at third party logistics vendor Lion Vallen Industries and U.S. Northern Command for continued item visibility.

With most of the boots stored at LVI in Pendergrass, Georgia, the team ensured they were available at depots near customers, and in some cases boots were delivered directly to them, Ford explained.

“My job is to see that customers receive items in a timely fashion,” Ford said. “It’s an awesome feeling to see that the customers get what they need on time because they’re putting their lives on the line, just like the warfighter, to put these fires out.”

The DLA team often worked overtime including late evenings and weekends, to fill orders, Ford said. They also participated in tri-weekly calls with representatives from the CIC, U.S. Forest Service, Army North and DLA Distribution.

Ralph Laurie, DLA liaison for USNORTHCOM and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, works closely with two Army and Marine battalions under USNORTHCOM using the boots to help fight the fires.

“The biggest concern with these units is if they don’t have the right boots, they can’t fight fires,” Laurie said.

Laurie described the mission of providing boots as demanding with high visibility from senior military leaders and tight delivery deadlines. Yet, every order is fulfilled on time, Laurie said.

Laurie thanked Kelly and the DLA team for their efforts completing this mission.

“At NORTHCOM, I get the credit for the work that many quiet professionals at DLA do,” Laurie said.  “Thank you for having such a truly dedicated team of professionals available to make miracles happen.  I want you to know that I don't take them for granted.”