News | Feb. 6, 2020

DLA Aviation hosts Army educators, improves schoolhouse collaboration

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Warrant Officers from the 128th Aviation Brigade out of Fort Eustis, Virginia, traveled to Defense Logistics Agency Aviation on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, Jan. 31 to collaborate with DLA Aviation’s Army Customer Facing Division support personnel.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Patrick Black, the 128th Aviation Brigade command chief warrant officer, was seeking a technical training event to deepen the logistics knowledge of his maintenance leaders and enhance aviation maintenance operations management.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jose Sánchez, aviation readiness officer and outreach program coordinator for the Army Customer Facing Division, Customer Operations Directorate, DLA Aviation, organized the visit as part of ongoing customer engagements between DLA and its customers to synchronize unit readiness and lethality.

The 128th Aviation Brigade, under the Army Aviation Center of Excellence, is composed of three training battalions supporting all Army aviation weapon systems, including the AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters. DLA Aviation provides logistics sustainment support for more than 94% of the parts associated with these weapon systems.

The brigade attendees included the warrant officer training director, the senior enlisted training portfolio manager, the brigade safety officer and warrant officer instructors. The Warrant Officer Training Division trains the aviation maintenance technician military occupational specialty at the basic and advanced levels. They are entrusted with training future aviation maintenance officers to manage all aviation weapon systems to include unmanned aerial weapon systems maintenance. 

“Our doctrine supports the whole idea of logistics and DLA obviously manages a ton of parts that we use,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andrew Laskowski, instructor/writer for the aviation maintenance technician specialty. “The engagement is beneficial; I’ve learned bits and pieces; it confirmed some of the knowledge that I had. Also going forward in writing material, I got some point of contacts because there are some things that have changed that we sometimes can’t keep up with and can now reach out to the right person.”

“The brief given to aviation maintenance combat leaders provided insightful information on how the logistics and readiness puzzle pieces come together to generate Army aviation combat power,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 William “Will” Tua, director, Warrant Officer Training, 1st Battalion, 210th Aviation Regiment. “Understanding how DLA supports the aviation combat warrior empowers leaders to make educated decisions and timely recommendations for mission priorities, ultimately gaining the strategic advantage at the ground level.”

Sánchez organized the visit to include DLA Army aviation support and readiness updates for the AH-64 and UH-60 weapons systems, summaries on DLA Fedmall ordering, procurement process overviews in pre- and post-award contracting, and forecast and demand planning that stressed the importance of placing orders based on lead time for items on scheduled maintenance.

“We were able to give the officers a basic overview of pre- and post-award operations,” said Army Maj. Daniel Gustke, contracting officer, Contract Administration Division, Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate, DLA Aviation. “There wasn’t a lot of opportunity to expand on procurement specific areas with the condensed schedule, but I believe they received some valuable information and established DLA contacts for when they need more information.”

“There are very seldom opportunities for service members to see the spectrum of support generated at the national level that empowers their daily mission success,” said Tua. “The mission overview provided an organizational system designed not only to provide the right part at the right time for aviation maintainers, but also the behind-the-scene considerations taken in contract development, procurement, and quality assurance of components tailored to deliver the best-manufactured part available to the end-user, the soldier.

“There is much more to learn about this logistics engine, but the knowledge gained [today] will pay dividends in the field by building valuable relationships that will help resolve mission constraints to meet commander's intent in a timely manner,” said Tua.