Unit conducts valuable training while helping reduce backlog

By Navy Lt. Matthew Willis and Navy Lt. j.g. Joe Jankord DLA Disposition Services

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Members of Disposition Services Unit Six of Jacksonville, Florida, used their December drill dates too not only complete the Defense Logistics Agency’s Joint Incremental Duty Training, or “JIDT Block II,” but also to help the local DLA Disposition Services site catch up on demilitarization and avoid shipping items to Alabama for the required work. During discussions with expeditionary workforce leaders in November, DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon thanked described such integrated uses of the military reserve personnel with the rest of the workforce as one of his organization’s “greatest strengths.”

Officers and 19 enlisted Navy service members joined with DLA civilian expeditionary staff from Dec. 4 to 6 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville to navigate the new training program designed to better prepare forward deployed joint teams for future contingency operations. Unit leaders said team members were grouped by the assigned skills they would master through the course and during later advanced training in Battle Creek. The assigned skill set focus areas included Distribution Standard System proficiency, plasma and petrogen cutting systems, and material handling equipment such as rough terrain forklifts. A Hammel 450 shredding system was also on hand for sailors to become familiarized with, as it is the same system that is being used in forward operations.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Toya Johnson, DSU-6’s newest member said, "Being new …, I was somewhat intimidated that I would be participating in a major exercise in only my second drill with the unit, but the instructors did a great job of explaining everything that we were doing. They kept the course interesting while also ensuring the information was communicated clearly.”

Officers and senior enlisted participated in breakout leadership sessions that focused on the restructuring of the military deployment model. The new deployment model consists of a three phase readiness model where two of the six DSU units are at a readiness stage to be deployed with six months’ notice. The remaining four DSU units will be in various training stages to support their respective readiness phases when they rotate up a phase every two years. The new deployment model will emphasize unit deployments over the traditional individual augmentee model.

Leadership planned future DLA training sessions and exercises that will ensure DSU-6 will be prepared for future mission requirements should the unit be called into action. Navy Cmdr. Christopher Thompson, DSU-6 commanding officer, toured the training evolutions of each group to observe his sailors in action and have the opportunity to ask the trainers detailed questions regarding the training methods and the platforms that were used.

Along with the JIDT training, sailors performed valuable contributory support demilitarizing 116 pieces of property including aircraft jet canopies, wings, and various components at a total acquisition value of $41 million. Overall, participants believed the JIDT was a welcomed addition to the annual training available to the military. By receiving hands-on training with the same DLA platforms used overseas in contingency operations, leaders believe the sailors of DSU-6 will be prepared to answer the call anytime and anywhere the mission requires.

"JIDT was a great opportunity for our guys to familiarize themselves with the tools and equipment that will be utilized while in theater. It helps to have instructors who have deployed with DLA, so they are brining real world experience to the training," said Navy Chief Petty Officer Brett Landau.