News | June 9, 2021

Joint Reserve Force leaders recount contributions to pandemic, DLA mission

By Lt. Col. Will Cambardella DLA Joint Reserve Force

Joint Reserve Force Director Navy Rear Adm. Grafton Chase hosted 100 reserve leaders from six major subordinate commands during a virtual and in-person Annual Leadership Review June 3-6 at Fort Belvoir.

Chase stressed the importance of critical thinking as JRF members focus on training for future missions and support priorities outlined in the agency’s new 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. He said the JRF vision and operating plan rests on innovation, adaptability, agility and accountability.

“Can we fight tonight? And [as logisticians] can we sustain tomorrow?” Chase asked, challenging the group to maintain readiness and mission-support skills to sustain warfighters.   

DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic opened the event by recognizing reservists’ intense operational tempo and contributions to the agency mission. The JRF is expected to participate in 65 overseas and 70 U.S.-based mobilizations this year. Members have conducted over 1,900 deployments since 9/11.

During the pandemic, the JRF helped staff the Agency Synchronization Operations Center and COVID-19 Task Force and trained a DLA Rapid Deployment Team that supported U.S. Army North units that deployed in spring 2020 to provide medical support and again in the fall to assist federal vaccination efforts.

Navy Capt. Greg Eaton, the joint directorate chief for JRF DLA Distribution, reported that 30 DLA reservists assisted in contact tracing and tracking of COVID-19 cases while backfilling for the civilian workforce.

“JRF members stepped up to prevent serious disruptions to the distribution mission, particularly the audit mission,” Eaton said.

They also played a large role in assisting DLA Troop Support’s medical supply chain by monitoring and recording readings on temperature-control devices included in COVID-19 vaccine shipments.

A soldier wearing a mask holds a small temperature monitor in one hand, formatted in a vertical portrait over a DLA emblem background
Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Joint Reserve Force member Army Maj. Kristen Johnson analyzes a temperature monitor at Naval Support Activity Philadelphia April 28, 2021.
A soldier wearing a mask holds a small temperature monitor in one hand, formatted in a vertical portrait over a DLA emblem background
DLA reservists support vaccine cold-chain management
Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Joint Reserve Force member Army Maj. Kristen Johnson analyzes a temperature monitor at Naval Support Activity Philadelphia April 28, 2021.
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 210222-A-D0441-0001
“JRF has been the key driver to over 3.5 million vaccinations being distributed worldwide,” said Army Col. Greg Smith, joint directorate chief for DLA Troop Support.

The team supports cold chain management for DLA’s annual flu vaccines, as well.

JRF Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Timmons, who is retiring after 40 years as a reservist, ended the event by talking about how communications changed during the pandemic.

“Communication will never be the same as it was before COVID, so now is the perfect time to discuss the meaning of true joint communication,” he added.

The event also included sessions on professional development, cold chain tactics, leadership ethics, historical vignettes and a communications roundtable led by DLA Senior Enlisted Leader Army Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka O’Neal.