LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
The first pair of combat boots didn’t fit. So Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Charles Hamilton walked to the stocked shelf and brought another pair to the Air Force recruit.
Hamilton took a knee in front of the trainee and unboxed another pair of sage green boots to go along with her freshly issued Airman Battle Uniform.
While DLA Troop Support’s Clothing and Textiles supply chain provides the initial clothing items for the 36,000 recruits processed yearly through Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, the commander doesn’t usually hand-deliver them.
Hamilton visited the Air Force’s sole recruit training center Aug. 6 and saw how technology C&T implemented there has helped cut the time it takes to issue a duffel bag of items in half.
The initial clothing items come with radio-frequency identification technology tags, used at Lackland since 2007. And recruits are sized while walking through a 3-D body scanner that captures more than 100 measurements, said Air Force Lt. Tim Stampler, a logistics readiness officer at Lackland.
Technology has improved the issuing process, increasing inventory accuracy and forecasting. Without measuring sizes or checking quantities manually, recruits have 50,000 more training hours per year, Stampler said.
Hamilton said he wanted to see the operation at Lackland before he visits other RTCs, since they consistently meet C&T’s goal to provide recruits each item their first time through the initial issue line.
“This is the gold standard,” Hamilton said. “I can see that issuing new recruits 100 percent first time through is important to you. And it is to us at Troop Support in Philadelphia.”
The RTC visit was one of several strategic engagements for Hamilton during the week. Strategic engagement, to strengthen relationships with industry and Defense Department partners, is one of the goals outlined in the DLA Strategic Plan.
While at Lackland, he also visited Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgery Center, where a group of junior enlisted Air Force logisticians told Hamilton they were experts at using the Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support system, the Medical supply chain’s online ordering application.
Hamilton saw where RFID tags are attached to clothing items at the Travis Association for the Blind facility in Austin, Texas. More than 75 percent of Travis employees are blind or visually impaired. They provide warehouse and logistics services to C&T customers and manufacture several items, including belts.
Hamilton also visited DLA Troop Support customers at the Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Texas, and earlier in the week, the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Virginia.