Fort Belvoir, Virginia, April 1, 2017 —
‘Flag Ladies’ Continue Betsy Ross Legacy as Museum-Worthy Philadelphia Flag-Makers
Embroiderers at Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support continue the flag-making legacy of Betsy Ross and the many needle workers who preceded them, a “flag lady” said during a museum exhibit opening Feb. 17.
Linda Farrell is one of 16 Clothing and Textiles flag room embroiders, known as flag ladies, featured in the Betsy Ross House’s newest exhibit, “Historic Threads: 250 Years of Flag Making in Philadelphia.” C&T’s embroiderers are the sole producers of the presidential and vice presidential flags, and other government and military flags.
“I can’t put into words the strong emotion that I felt when I saw the exhibit,” Farrell said. “I never imagined that I would one day be standing in the Betsy Ross House, not only as a speaker but as part of the exhibit.”
“Historic Threads” highlights the city’s centuries-long tradition of flag making, introducing museum guests to women like Ross who earned a living stitching flags in independent shops, commercial factories and government warehouses, said Lisa Acker Moulder, director of the Betsy Ross House.
“Philadelphia-made flags have flown in wars, marked America’s westward expansion and accompanied presidents all over the world,” Moulder said.
As the event coincided with Presidents Day weekend, Farrell displayed a presidential flag and described its symbolism, while embroider Nereida Rivera stitched a vice presidential flag.
“Each lady puts a little bit of her heart and soul into each flag that comes out of the [flag room,]” Farrell said. “Rest assured: As we go on, the pride and passion of the ‘flag ladies’ at the Defense Logistics Agency flag room will carry on the legacy of Betsy Ross, and we will continue to make flags as the ‘Betsy Rosses of the 21st century.’”
In 2014, five of the flag ladies made a replica 13-star American flag, now on display at DLA headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Oral history credits Ross for making the first American flag, with 13 stars in a field of blue next to 13 red and white stripes, at the request of George Washington in 1776, according to the Betsy Ross House website.
The Schuylkill Arsenal, a major supplier of military goods and DLA Troop Support’s legacy organization, also employed Ross to make flags in the early 19th century, Moulder said.
“Historic Threads” will be on display at the Betsy Ross House until 2018.
— Mikia Muhammad
DLA Troop Support Public Affairs
More online: go.usa.gov/xX5Tp
Defense Working Group Visits Columbus DLA Installation
Members of the Central Ohio Defense Working Group held their quarterly meeting at Defense Supply Center Columbus for a firsthand look at the installation’s contributions to global defense and its local economic impact.
The March 3 roundtable discussion included members of local and state political offices, civic leaders, non-profit representatives and military stakeholders. The meetings usually rotate among the participants’ sites and facilities. Topics included improving public-private partnerships, infrastructure development and workforce challenges and opportunities.
The group’s purpose is to bring members of the defense community together to ensure employers have everything they need to successfully complete their mission, said Steve Tugend, chairman of the Columbus Region Defense Group.
“There’s a major ‘behind-the-scenes’ impact that central Ohio has on the defense community, both nationally and globally,” Tugend said. “There are a number of agencies at this installation alone that significantly contribute to national defense, and it’s astonishing to consider their global influence in supporting the warfighter.”
Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime has the largest presence on the installation, with more than 2,500 military and civilian employees. Defense Finance and Accounting Service makes up the majority of the rest of DSCC’s workforce.
DFAS Columbus supports military services and large buying commands within the Department of Defense, such as the Air Force and Army Materiel Commands, through contract payments and accounting.
DLA Land and Maritime provides logistics support for the armed forces, which includes purchasing materiel, monitoring inventory levels, maintaining technical data and assuring quality conformance on more than 2 million spare and repair parts.
Some of the attendees asked how federal executive orders had affected operations at DSCC, including retention and recruitment of qualified applicants. Since many positions at DLA and DFAS require specific job skills in addition to a security background check, the hiring process for them often takes much longer than it does for private sector positions.
DLA Land and Maritime Chief of Staff Griff Warren said the agency’s robust internship program alleviates some of the challenges facing the federal workforce. Participants can receive full-time positions at competitive salaries after completing the agency’s two-year Pathways to Career Excellence program, known commonly as PaCE.
Site Director Dan Bell said the installation security forces’ ability to adapt to changing demands has also greatly contributed to the continuity of operations at DSCC, and he commended the workforce. He said many of the law enforcement officers, safety coordinators and firefighters are veterans and remain thoroughly committed to warfighter support.
“The best asset we have in Columbus is a workforce that respects the uniform and respects the American flag,” Tugend said. “It’s important for this group to meet frequently so we can continue our support for our defense community and identify ways to improve that support.”
The meeting concluded with a driving tour around the installation to visit storage and disposition facilities, police and fire-prevention assets and offices of the Ohio National Guard and other military support entities at DSCC.
— Craig M. Rader
DLA Land and Maritime
More online: go.usa.gov/xX5ba
Stock Positioning, Retail Support Discussed in Logistics Operations Leader’s Visit to DLA Distribution
George Atwood, the Defense Logistics Agency’s executive director for logistics operations, visited DLA Distribution headquarters Feb. 24 for discussions and to see distribution in action at the Susquehanna facility in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.
Atwood began with a roundtable discussion with key DLA Distribution leadership. He was particularly interested in improvement efforts in stock positioning, the state of audit readiness at DLA distribution centers and the benefits of the newly implemented Trans-Arabian Network.
DLA Distribution is improving stock positioning to determine how the military services support small, geographically dispersed units that do not generate large demand patterns. It’s also looking at how the organization can satisfy requests locally to minimize the requirements for shipping outside of the area of responsibility.
For audit readiness, DLA Distribution is continuing efforts to meet requirements at all locations. In the coming weeks, book-to-floor evaluations will begin at DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan and Susquehanna.
The Trans-Arabian Network’s purpose is to significantly decrease air transportation costs to the service components through forward stocking. For example, to forward-stock items as opposed to on-demand air shipments, DLA can save approximately 95 percent.
After the roundtable, Atwood visited DLA Distribution Susquehanna, the organization’s largest facility, accounting for 33 percent of the workload across all 25 facilities.
Atwood spoke with employees about challenges in meeting the requirements of the military services, and he saw the distribution process from induction to shipment.
He was specifically interested in seeing the distribution center’s high-rise storage and retrieval system, which stores the fastest moving materials. He also toured the sorting area, where materials are separated into dedicated truck lanes. For routine materials, dedicated truck shipments can decrease the cost of delivery to the military services, as they maximize the number of items and the route of delivery for customers in the same area.
Atwood also held an internal town hall with his staff who work at the New Cumberland installation, and he noted how important DLA is to supporting the warfighter.
— DLA Distribution Public Affairs
More online: go.usa.gov/xX5bY