Richmond, Va. –
(Editor’s Note: DLA Aviation’s Public Affairs Office recently learned that several DLA Aviation employees would be overlapping their deployments on DLA Support Team-Afghanistan. Below is Moses Williams’ commentary the second in a series highlighting team member positions and deployment experiences. Williams deployed for the third time as a universal customer account specialist with DST Afghanistan from Dec. 2018 - July 2019. His previous deployments were in Iraq and Africa. Back stateside, Williams works as a emergency management specialist in the DLA Aviation Logistics Operations Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.
I have deployed several times and heard about this latest deployment from George Johnson, DLA Aviation’s force provider. I knew what was required for the position, so I could hit the ground running. With 20 years in the Army and 12 years with DLA, I felt like I would make a positive difference to support our agency’s mission.
As a universal customer account specialist in Afghanistan I was responsible for the Class IV Maintenance, Repair and Operations Prime Vendor Program which covers construction material, Class IX covering aviation repair parts for all rotor wing aircraft and the DLA Aviation Industrial Gas Program. I helped research and resolve critical items adversely impacting weapons system readiness, expedited parts, requisitions, and shipping status to support customers in many locations in Afghanistan.
DLA has many automated tools in place to provide wholesale support to various units assigned here many of which I used daily. I reached back to specialists at DLA depots and inventory control points stateside for help to get needed parts and secure supplies to support in-theater commanders.
I supported the DST commander, sustainment brigades, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and various elements throughout Afghanistan by providing system training for personnel to locate, track and acquire assets.
My family is of the utmost importance to me and always factors into my deployment decisions. They have always been very supportive which allowed me to concentrate on my responsibilities while abroad. Being able to support the warfighter is significant and I felt like I made a difference to the safety of our country and a positive difference to support the mission of our agency.
Preparing for a deployment was time consuming and most of that preparation time goes into the pre-deployment process. There is a lot of online training to complete, as well as passing a medical physical. This process was made easier with management support, but there can be unexpected delays in the Continental U.S. Conus Replacement Center. The process could be expanded to allow for two-full weeks of cross training with your replacement.
When I arrived in Afghanistan, it was late in the evening and dark. We got off the C-17, Globemaster III, a large military transport aircraft, and moved into a holding area. After gathering all my bags, I was taken to my assigned room where all of the DLA deplorers live.
The living condition there were great; the DST personnel are assigned to a one- person room. Each room had a TV, internet router, refrigerator, microwave and a twin-size bed.
There are five Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities on the base and four gyms. The MWR was really focus on the deployed personnel and supplied high-quality fitness, sports and recreation equipment, internet and WI-FI. They provided USO and Armed Forces Entertainment tours. They worked with Army and Air Force Exchange Service to provide first-run movies and the Stars and Stripes newspaper free to the deployed personnel.
My first day on the job was very exciting, meeting all of the DLA personnel and customers that I would be supporting. The individual I replaced had already returned to his permanent duty station, so another co-worker briefed me on my specific assignments. The DST Team there was very professional and knowledgeable.
I work directly with the task force assisting them with all DLA classes of supply and ensuring the customer did not wait an excessive or preventable amount of time on any requisition. I was there to answer any questions they may have related to DLA operations.
Our success with the DST mission depends on the expeditious contracting or ordering of parts for aviation repairs and rotary-wing aircraft. The main mode of transportation to the different forward operations bases was by rotary-wing aircraft, so if I expedited a part or contract to get that part there quicker that made our DST team successful.
I took pride in providing comprehensive research and accurate data on the status of back-ordered parts to my customers and giving daily updated briefings. It was always satisfying when our customers were pleased that delivery dates have improved.
Any stocked DLA items that are zero balance and/or direct vendor delivery items with long leads time were the most challenging items for our customers, so when I was able to get those item expedited in a timely manner and get vehicle, weapon or aircraft back on the battle field, that was a success.
Supporting our warfighters brings great personal satisfactions because I am not only supporting our customers; I was supporting our great country. As a deployee, we interacted directly with our warfighters. I’m retired from the Army, so I can relate to the lifestyle and I truly understand the importance of the mission and their urgency of need.
I would urge any of my co-workers back home who are considering deploying, to do it. Don’t be afraid, it’s just another desk job away from home, and the money is pretty good, too.