The workforce that managed 937K consumable hardware items from the Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia for nearly 75 years, albeit under many names, has officially moved on to supporting other DLA missions as of Oct. 1, 2021 following an event where the organizational flag was symbolically retired. But the talent and energy the workforce cultivated over time lives on throughout the agency in their new teams.
Support for the items, originally centralized with the establishment of the Defense Industrial Supply Center in Philadelphia in 1947, seamlessly transitioned to DLA Aviation and DLA Land and Maritime over the past 18 months, continues for warfighters and federal partners.
“The IH sunset is an emotional event for our team members who are rightfully proud of the warfighter support they’ve provided knowing that their work kept tanks rolling, ships sailing and planes flying across the [Department of Defense],” former Industrial Hardware Director Air Force Col. Adrian Crowley said.
But that pride is a trademark of IH, and something he’s glad gets to be carried onward by more than 400 employees to other supply chains and DLA offices as they find new homes throughout the agency, he said.
Gail Kolb, purchasing agent for IH and former head of the “IH Troopers” morale team, said that she aimed to bring the closeness the IH team had to her new assignment in Subsistence.
“One of the best things [IH] had to offer, was that [the team] had such an amazing comradery,” Kolb said.
She said that while it may be easier for some than others to watch the sun set on IH, the team can be defined as “strong and resilient,” and should be glad for their time together.
“You can be sad that it’s gone, but you need to be happy that it happened,” Kolb said. “Keep moving forward. Give it everything.”
DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Eric Shirley presided over the ceremony, thanking the IH workforce for their excellence and the strength they added to the team over the years leading up to the mission realignment as it moves on to other DLA organizations.
“One thing is not leaving Philadelphia today, and that is the excellence of the workforce that has made Industrial Hardware what it has been over the years.”
The sunset event, during which Crowley ceremoniously retired the organization’s flag, provided a visual means of capturing the divestment.
“For a lot of teammates, IH was their entire career. Some retired before today, and some have moved on to support other missions. But IH will always be a part of who they are,” Crowley said.
He also shared what he will remember most fondly from his tenure with the Hardware team.
“Every time you were challenged with a problem, you were able to band together and overcome it, and I couldn’t be prouder of that. But what I’ll always remember about IH … will always be about the people.”
With the ending of the IH supply chain at DLA Troop Support, industrial hardware will continue to be supported jointly by DLA Aviation and DLA Maritime as part of their existing hardware missions, and collectively under the Consumable Hardware moniker.