BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
The Defense Logistics Agency Joint Reserve Force brings unique skillsets and assistance to DLA as a whole. This week, reserve personnel from the JRF joined forces with other military and civilians to take part in the Overseas Contingency Operations Readiness Training exercise at two different military installations in Battle Creek, Michigan. The exercise started June 10 and finished June 21.
One of those skillsets is leadership provided by U.S. Army Maj. Ryan Mendenhall, the officer in charge of both sites where the exercise took place.
“I have come to understand that I need to know how to command and control,” said U.S. Mendenhall. “Since I have had experience in managing troops and equipment throughout my career, it has helped me fulfill my position as the OIC.”
Integration is key, and OCORT provides experience for JRF personnel to stay up to date on tasks and prepare for expeditionary responsibilities.
Not only do reserve members interact with other members of other branches, but they interact with civilians, which will not be uncommon when they deploy.
“The JRF integrates as a joint team of Army, Navy, Air Force and civilians,” said Chief Petty Officer David Somerville, Defense Supply Unit-4 senior enlisted leader. “We feed off of each other’s skillsets, and as reservists, we only practice these skills twice a month or during drill weekends and two weeks per year on annual training. DLA civilians work the job every day and are the subject matter experts, so we look to them for guidance and assistance.”
While here, JRF personnel provide more than just leadership and integration, they are also on the ground providing their property disposal expertise.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Donald Day, material supply noncommissioned officer from San Antonio, Texas, used his expertise working the shredder, managing entry control, and inputting data into the Distribution Standard System.
While this was a great training opportunity for JRF members, this exercise accepted real property turn-ins and real services were provided to agency customers. Some regional military units and other government civilian agencies drop off their property to be cleared out during OCORT.
“We are providing support to Army and Navy units that are in the Battle Creek area and also DLA customers,” Somerville said. “We are helping these units with turnover of accumulated property and equipment that needs scrapped or demilitarized. Units are required to have the correct turn-in documents for processing. Items can include everything from a tire to a computer to vehicles and equipment. We help the customer with turning the item in correctly and safely.”
While providing these services, the training focuses on the potential to deploy, as DLA Disposition Services is the agency sub-command whose members deploy the most.
“Everything is played as a real-world scenario,” Day said. “Everything runs as it would overseas.”
OCORT has been an annual exercise since 2013. Learn more information on OCORT from the exercise's 2019 kick-off.