Red River’s Expeditionary team assists hurricane victims

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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The DLA Distribution Red River, Texas, Expeditionary team makes up one-third of the DLA Distribution Expeditionary team. The other two-thirds are located at DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania and DLA Distribution San Joaquin, California.

The 22 member team located at Red River has spent the last month deployed to different parts of the United States providing support to people affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and now Maria. The team, rich with experience in expeditionary deployments, has members who have been with them as little as two months to as long as 11 years.

The Red River team has deployed over 50 times in support of DLA missions. The most recent deployments have been to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas; Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, lasting from 24 to 33 plus days and counting.

When the team arrived at Randolph AFB, Joe Cummings, Red River Expeditionary team lead, explained what they encountered. “We were met with an empty flight line that had been reserved for the team. It was waiting for us to stage the trucks that would arrive full of commodities.  At 10 a.m. we turned on the “go light” and the flight line filled quickly with trailers full of commodities ready to be distributed.  We ended up with almost 1500 trailers of MRE’S , shelf-stable meals, water and other critical commodities to include cots, tarps and personal hygiene kits.  There were 18 wheelers lined up all the way to IH-10, but with team work and long hours we were able to get them all to different points of distribution.” 

“Our mission during all deployments is to provide expeditionary distribution capability in order to support DLA’s top priority of meeting the warfighters logistics needs by extending the operation reach of the combatant commanders, global humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations,” said Cummings. “Our team members are not volunteers, this is part of our job descriptions. What drives us to be a part of this team is the thrill and satisfaction of supporting the warfighter and aiding FEMA in humanitarian and disaster relief worldwide.”

Cummings explained that being on this team is not easy. Team members must remain both mentally and physically ready at all times, meaning they must be medically qualified to encumber the position and successfully meet physical fitness requirements annually.

“We also participate in both extensive classroom and real world training,” said Cummings.

The Red River Expeditionary team are all trained to operate a wide variety of equipment and are fully self-contained, meaning they can stand alone anywhere and operate using their own resources.

In response to how it feels to be part of the DLA Distribution Expeditionary Team, Cummings said “I think what we enjoy most about the team is working together as one to accomplish the mission. The Expeditionary Team is a great team and we are proud to be a part of it.”

Currently, all team members have returned from Randolph and Maxwell AFB. There are seven team members located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in support of Hurricane Maria.